Former Edmonton Public School Trustee Bev Esslinger announced today in an email (pdf) that she is seeking the Progressive Conservative nomination in Edmonton-Riverview. The constituency is currently represented by three-term Liberal MLA Kevin Taft, who will not be seeking re-election.
As a trustee, Ms. Esslinger represented Ward A in north Edmonton from 2004 until 2010. She is the current President of the Cumberland/Oxford Community League, which is located in the constituency of Edmonton-Castle Downs. When she declined to seek re-election to the Public School Board in October 2010, some observers suspected that she was preparing to challenge MLA Doug Elniski for the PC nomination in Edmonton-Calder.
Riverview will be one of the constituencies that I will be watching closely when the next election is called. The Liberals hope to hold the constituency that they have held since 1997 and have nominated businessman Arif Khan.
Unlike most constituencies in Alberta, the Liberals have a strong-base of support and solid-organization in this constituency, no doubt cultivated by Dr. Taft’s high-profile as his party’s leader from 2004 to 2010. Mr. Khan has been busy campaigning over the past year, but the Liberals will face a strong challenge from the yet to be nominated Tory and the already nominated New Democrat.
Excited by high levels of support in the area during the May 2010 federal election, the NDP are putting their hopes in social worker Lori Sigurdson. The portion of Edmonton-Riverview east of the North Saskatchewan River includes some of the strongest areas of support for Edmonton-Strathcona Member of Parliament Linda Duncan. Electing an MLA in Riverview would be a victory trophy for the NDP.
The Wildrose Party has nominated consultant John Corie.
Past election results in Edmonton-Riverview
Kevin Taft, Lib – 7,471
Wendy Andrews, PC – 5,171
Erica Bullwinkle, NDP – 1,284
Cameron Wakefield, Grn – 506
Kyle Van Hauwaert, Wildrose – 329
Kevin Taft, Lib – 10,280
Fred Horne, PC – 3,575
Donna Martyn, NDP – 1,058
John Lackey, Green – 357
David Edgar, Alliance – 313
David Power, SC – 116
UPDATE: Edmonton Police Officer Steve Young is expected to enter the PC nomination contest next week.