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Alberta Politics

Danielle Smith wins the United Conservative Party leadership race, becomes Alberta’s next Premier

I’m back,” were the first words to come out of Danielle Smith‘s mouth when she reached the podium after winning on the sixth ballot of the United Conservative Party leadership race.

It’s the political comeback story of the year, one that might only be surpassed by Rachel Notley if she is able to lead the NDP back into power in next year’s election.

It’s a win but it’s not the strong overwhelming mandate that Smith’s supporters have been boasting about over the past few weeks.

More on this soon over on the Daveberta Substack, but until then here’s are the results.

First ballot

  • Danielle Smith – 41.3%
  • Travis Toews – 29.4%
  • Brian Jean – 11%
  • Todd Loewen – 7.7%
  • Rebecca Schulz – 6.9%
  • Rajan Sawhney – 2.1%
  • Leela Aheer – 1.6%

Second ballot

  • Danielle Smith – 41.4%
  • Travis Toews – 29.7%
  • Brian Jean – 11.3%
  • Todd Loewen – 7.7%
  • Rebecca Schulz – 7.3%
  • Rajan Sawhney – 2.7%

Third ballot

  • Danielle Smith – 41.7%
  • Travis Toews – 30.4%
  • Brian Jean – 12.1%
  • Todd Loewen – 8.0%
  • Rebecca Schulz – 7.8%

Fourth ballot

  • Danielle Smith – 46.2%
  • Travis Toews – 31.9%
  • Brian Jean – 13.5%
  • Todd Loewen – 8.4%

Fifth ballot

  • Danielle Smith – 47.7%
  • Travis Toews – 37.4%
  • Brian Jean – 14.8%

Sixth ballot

  • Danielle Smith – 53.7%
  • Travis Toews – 46.2%

17 replies on “Danielle Smith wins the United Conservative Party leadership race, becomes Alberta’s next Premier”

Indeed she is back, but even a sizeable number of UCP members seem to still have reservations.

I was surprised she wasn’t even the second choice for a large majority of Loewen supporters, nor Jean’s. However, in the end she got enough to get past the finish line.

It was not a ringing endorsement from her party and even Smith seemed unsure about what to make of it when she started to speak uncharacteristically hesitantly.

I suppose a victory is a victory, but she barely got a few percent more than Kenney in his leadership review and that was only after a number of rounds of recalculating the votes, giving her others second and third choices. So before she rushes off to convince Albertans she is so great, she will first need to convince her own party.

There are politicians who eke out narrow victories and go on to much bigger ones, but they are usually people more skilled at bringing people together and less divisive.

Dave A: If this was a child’s mark on a school subject grade, or on a test they took, their parents still wouldn’t be that impressed with it. It is still not smooth sailing for Danielle Smith and the UCP. There is still strife and turmoil from within the party, and given Danielle Smith’s personal and political past, including saying things that don’t make any sense, and betraying her own constituents, by abandoning the Wildrose party for the Alberta PCs, I don’t think her term as premier of Alberta will last very long. Danielle Smith also has an over inflated ego, which also isn’t going to help her. It won’t be long before the UCP breaks apart. There is no way the UCP will be able to be put back together.

Keep in mind, there were seven and she was the front runner and target of preference for the whole of the campaign. Also, her platform was a “novel” course of action and not being able to fear monger and claim the “business as usual” ground, I think its a very strong endorsement.

As evidenced by her first ballet over 40%.

Now, she has an opportunity to build her brand and make some consensus. Should prove for an interesting next year.

Go DS!

Bret Larson: It’s too bad that there are Albertans who forgot about what Danielle Smith was like as the leader of the Wildrose.

You mean where she tried to unite the right and keep the NDP out?

I guess such things are called different depending on your point of view.

Its exactly my memory of what happened that attracted me in the first place.

I did a bit of math on the vote results, and while she started out in first place after the first ballot, her share of the vote grew less than that of any other candidate with each round of vote-counting — with the sole exception of the fourth count, after Todd Loewen was dropped, during which it grew by 9.7%; however, Brian Jean’s share grew by 10.8% on the 4th count.

By the time of the sixth & final count of the ballots, Travis Toews’ vote share had grown a total of 46.9%, while Smith’s had only grown by 21.4%. So there was clearly a significant “anybody but Dani” sentiment among many UCP voters, although not quite enough to beat her.

If I follow the numbers on this somewhat confusing graph correctly, she got around 52% of Loewen’s votes, a majority yes, but far from overwhelming. I did a quick calculation when the results were announced and came up with a fairly similar percentage.

Agreed, I was thinking of voting him first, with DS second. I was very much impressed by him, once he got his feet under him.

What a way to become premier of Alberta. Our electoral system is a sham, if this is what happens. Given how Danielle Smith has conducted herself in the past as a politician, her stint as premier won’t last that long. What else will make Danielle Smith’s term as premier short lived, is what she intends to do, which won’t bode well with people, once it affects them. This includes compromising the public healthcare system, the public education system, pensions, seniors benefits, and social programs. Insurance and utility costs will go up even further. Picking fights with the federal government, and sowing division, even amongst the already fractured UCP party, is a proven recipe for more problems. Also, fueling the flames of separatist foolishness, will have more repercussions. Corporations will not want to come to Alberta, because of this. Existing corporations will pack up and leave Alberta, never to return. Pretend conservatives and Reformers only make problems, and they never solve anything. Danielle Smith is also a Ralph Klein clone, and he made a horrific mess of things. Peter Lougheed knew how Reformers were, and he had a legitimate dislike, and distrust for them, because he knew how bad they were. When people don’t listen to people with common sense, such as Peter Lougheed, they end up paying dearly for it.

The acceptance speech was a prime opportunity for Smith to pivot to the concerns of everyday Albertans about health care and the cost of living. On this score she failed spectacularly. Instead Albertans heard the same old same old Ottawa bashing and vaccine skepticism.

John Kolkman: Bashing the federal government doesn’t work very well. Neither does doing things that go against what are under federal government jurisdiction. Danielle Smith is in no way a medical expert. If anyone was to take what she says seriously, their health would be put in jeopardy. People’s health and well being still will be compromised, if Danielle Smith is allowed to destroy public healthcare in Alberta.

This doesn’t really matter.

She is a placeholder for now. Although one that could wreck havoc for a few months. In the end though, it’s up to the citizens of Alberta to decide how far she and the UCP go with her leadership. Albertans have a choice to make.

Maybe it’s not entirely fair or accurate because it’s not really enough observation to judge, but psychologists often say that sociopaths/psychopaths and, obviously, malignant narcissists make everything about them and the first thing Danielle Smith said was “I’m back.”

Adam Tondowsky: Danielle Smith does have quite an ego, and a pompous attitude to match. She’s so cocky and sure of herself, but all of this will lead to her downfall as a politician, once again.

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