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Top 12 closest races of Alberta's 2023 election
Calgary was home of the nail biters of 2023
It’s been a few days since Election Day in Alberta and as the dust begins to settle I’ve been able to take a closer look at the results in ridings across the province.
The Alberta election results tell a big story.
Alberta is politically divided, but not equally divided everywhere.
Alberta is politically competitive, but only in some places.
Danielle Smith’s United Conservative Party won almost every riding outside the two largest cities with some big margins of victory, which was key to that party’s successful re-election. Rachel Notley’s Alberta NDP dominated in Edmonton, where the party’s candidates won all of the city’s 20 ridings. That left Calgary and a handful of ridings surrounding Edmonton, in Lethbridge and west of Calgary as competitive in this election.
Calgary got the most attention in this campaign for being the region with the most competitive ridings, and voters in that city didn’t disappoint. When the ballots were counted, NDP candidates were elected in 14 of the city’s 26 ridings (two are pending a recount) and that party earned a historic 49% of the vote in Alberta’s largest city, ahead of the UCP, which finished second with 12 candidates elected and 48% of the vote.
In today’s newsletter, I look at where the parties had their closest races in this election and where the UCP and NDP are their strongest.
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Top 12 closest races of Alberta’s 2023 election
Reflecting how competitive this election was in Calgary, ten of the twelve closest races in this campaign were inside Calgary city limits. Of those ten, six were won by the NDP and four by the UCP.
Two of the closest Calgary ridings are facing a mandatory recounts because the results were so narrow. In Calgary-Acadia, NDP candidate Diana Batten finished a 7-votes ahead of UCP incumbent candidate Tyler Shandro, and in the neighbouring Calgary-Glenmore the NDP’s Nagwan Al-Guneid finished 30-votes ahead of UCP incumbent Whitney Issik.
The large number of tight races in Calgary shows that had a few thousand votes shifted from one party to another in certain ridings, this election could have resulted in a very narrow NDP majority or an even larger UCP majority.
One of the two closest races outside of Calgary happened in neighbouring Banff-Kananaskis. The riding is home to a pretty clear geographic divide between strong support for NDP candidate Sarah Elmeligi in west Bow Valley communities like Canmore and Banff, and strong support for UCP incumbent Miranda Rosin among the affluent acreage communities and ranches in the eastern reaches of the riding. Elmeligi won by 0.9% of the vote.
Further south, UCP candidate and co-deputy premier Nathan Neudorf finished 3.4% ahead of NDP challenger Rob Miyashiro in Lethbridge-East. The riding was widely expected to be picked up by the NDP in this election, but the campaign fell short on Election Day. It was one result that I was genuinely surprised about on election night.
Here are the top 12 closest races of Alberta’s 2023 election:
Calgary-Acadia: NDP leading with 0.03% (recount pending)
NDP candidate Diana Batten leading UCP incumbent Tyler Shandro by 7-votes.
Calgary-Glenmore: NDP leading with by 0.1% (recount pending)
NDP candidate Nagwan Al-Guneid leading UCP incumbent Whitney Issik by 30-votes.
Calgary-North West: UCP win by 0.6%
UCP candidate Rajan Sawhney defeated NDP candidate Michael Lisboa-Smith.
Calgary-North: UCP win by 0.7%
UCP incumbent Muhammad Yaseen defeated NDP candidate Rajesh Angral.
Banff-Kananaskis: NDP win by 0.9%
NDP candidate Sarah Elmeligi defeated UCP incumbent Miranda Rosin.
Calgary-Edgemont: NDP win by 1.2%
NDP candidate Julia Hayter defeated UCP incumbent Prasad Panda.
Calgary-Foothills: NDP win by 1.2%
NDP candidate Court Ellingson defeated UCP incumbent Jason Luan.
Calgary-Bow: UCP win by 1.5%
UCP incumbent Demetrios Nicolaides defeated NDP candidate Druh Farrell.
Calgary-Beddington: NDP win by 2.8%
NDP candidate Amanda Chapman defeated UCP incumbent Josephine Pon.
Calgary-Elbow: NDP win by 3%
NDP candidate Samir Kayande defeated UCP candidate Chris Davis.
Calgary-Cross: UCP win by 3.4%
UCP incumbent Mickey Amery defeated NDP candidate Gurinder Singh Gill.
Lethbridge-East: UCP win by 3.4%
UCP incumbent Nathan Neudorf defeated NDP candidate Rob Miyashiro.
Strongest UCP and NDP ridings
The regional political divide is clear when looking at the 10 ridings where the UCP and the NDP have their strongest support.
UCP support is strongest in rural ridings spread over the south, central and north regions of Alberta:
Drumheller-Stettler (Nate Horner re-elected with 82.1%)
Central Peace-Notley (Todd Loewen re-elected with 77.7%)
Grande Prairie-Wapiti (Ron Wiebe elected with 75.7%)
Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul (Scott Cyr elected with 75.5%)
Taber-Warner (Grant Hunter re-elected with 75.3%)
Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills (Nathan Cooper re-elected with 75.1%)
Vermilion-Lloysminster-Wainwright (Garth Rowswell re-elected with 74.3%)
Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock (Glenn Van Dijken re-elected with 74.3%)
Cardston-Siksika (Joseph Schow re-elected with 74.2%)
Drayton Valley-Devon (Andrew Boitchenko elected with 73.7%)
The NDP’s strongest support is found in Edmonton and central Calgary:
Edmonton-Strathcona (Rachel Notley re-elected with 79.7%)
Edmonton-City Centre (David Shepherd re-elected with 73.7%)
Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood (Janis Irwin re-elected with 72%),
Edmonton-Gold Bar (Marlin Schmidt re-elected with 69.4%)
Edmonton-Glenora (Sarah Hoffman re-elected with 69.3%)
Edmonton-Riverview (Lori Sigurdson re-elected with 66.8%)
Calgary-Mountain View (Kathleen Ganley re-elected with 64.7%)
Edmonton-Rutherford (Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse elected with 64.2%)
Calgary-Buffalo (Joe Ceci re-elected with 63%)
Edmonton-Meadows (Jasvir Deol re-elected with 62.4%)
Thanks for reading!
Thank you to everyone who has read and subscribed to the Daveberta Substack. If you like what you read here today, please feel free to share it with a friend or colleague or post it on your social media.
The election is over and I’m looking forward to sharing more thoughts about what the results mean for Albertans and our political parties. Look for another post early next week about how the results might have reshaped the politics inside the UCP and NDP.
PS. I spoke with Toronto Star reporter Alex Boyd this week about what our new two-party competitive politics could means for Alberta politics. I also sat down with with rabble.ca editor Nick Seebruch to review the election and what it means for Smith’s and Notley’s leadership.