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Wildrose candidate Rod Fox came out on top April 23 with 6,570 votes, winning the legislative seat for Lacombe-Ponoka and defeating the Progressive Conservatives, who’ve held the riding for the past 41 years.
“It’s time for some hard work,” said Fox.
Poll results started trickling in after 8 p.m. and it was clear the race would be a close one. Fox and PC candidate, Steve Christie, took turns leading for most of the evening.
“It was a roller coaster ride, I mean we were neck and neck,” said Fox. “All the campaigns put up a really good effort in this election, I’m humbled and honoured.”
The riding of Lacombe-Ponoka is a fairly new riding, created in 2003 from portions of the old Ponoka-Rimbey and Lacombe-Stettler ridings. Candidates from the Liberal party, NDP, and Alberta Party also ran in Lacombe-Ponoka, but in the end it came down to the Wildrose and PC candidates.
“It was absolutely electric.one of the highlights of my life,” said Fox.
Despite the tight race, Fox pulled through around 10 p.m. as the final polls were revealed. But this win doesn’t mean he’s forgotten about the other candidates he had to beat to get there.
“Steve’s a great guy, he’s done a lot of good things,” said Fox.
Christie, who is currently on unpaid leave from his position as mayor of the City of Lacombe, was appointed the PC candidate back in March, after incumbent MLA Ray Prins announced he wouldn’t be seeking re-election.
Christie came in second in the race for Lacombe-Ponoka, winning 24 of the possible 69 polls, according to Elections Alberta’s unofficial results. He could not be reached for comment at press time.
The other candidates managed to capture 20% of the votes in the riding. Doug Hart of the NDP followed Christie in third with 1,478 votes.
“I think we’ve always put on a strong platform,” said Hart. “I would have preferred to see more than 20% of the vote go to three strong progressive candidates in the Alberta Party, the New Democrats and the Liberal party.”
Hart isn’t the only candidate disappointed with the outcome of Monday night’s election. Many people had expected a bigger fall for the PCs in Alberta, but in the end they managed to win 61 seats and hold on to their majority.
“I’d like to see maybe a minority because I think more gets done,” said Barbara Slater of Lacombe, after casting her ballot April 23.
Hart also thought the election would create a minority government but in the end that wasn’t in the cards for Alberta.
“Maybe the fear factor came into play, where people realized the experience of the Wildrose leader, and the inexperience in public service of the candidates and I think they opted for the devil they know,” said Hart.
Despite what many polls had predicted at the beginning of the election race, the Wildrose failed to win government, however, they did clinch 17 seats in the legislature making them the new official opposition.
Back in Lacombe-Ponoka, Fox won 45 polls, and the MLA seat. But there’s more to the job than just winning, and Fox is looking forward to his new job in Edmonton.
“My hope for the next four years is to go in and represent the riding here with honour and actually see some accountability come back into our government,” said Fox.