There’s a crowded race for the United Conservative Party nomination just south of Edmonton.
Nam Kular and Al Luthra are the latest candidates to join Heather Feldbusch, Brandon Lunty, and Karen Richert in the race to replace retiring UCP MLA Brad Rutherford in Leduc-Beaumont.
Rutherford was elected in 2019 with 58.4 per cent of the vote. He announced his retirement from provincial politics shortly after he was appointed by Premier Danielle Smith as Government Caucus Whip and Minister without Portfolio.
The NDP have nominated paramedic Cam Heenan as their candidate. The riding was represented by NDP MLA Shaye Anderson from 2015 to 2019.
Taking Back Jason Nixon’s nomination
The Take Back Alberta-stacked board of the Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre UCP association announced on Facebook that they have begun discussions to reopen the nomination in the riding. Incumbent MLA Jason Nixon‘s allies were recently voted off the board and replaced by a TBA-backed slate.
Nixon was acclaimed in March 2022 after the UCP disqualified former county councillor Tim Hoven, who many TBA supporters believed would have won the vote. It was widely believed that Hoven’s disqualification was done to protect Nixon, who was then Premier Jason Kenney’s chief lieutenant.
Nixon served as Minister of Finance in the waining days of Kenney’s government and was dropped from cabinet when Smith entered the Premier’s Office. His brother, Jeremy Nixon, is the UCP MLA for Calgary-Klein and is now the Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services.
Take Back Alberta also has its sights set on taking over the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake UCP board and reopening the candidate nomination in that riding.
Incumbent UCP MLA Devin Dreeshen , who is also the son of local Conservative Member of Parliament Earl Dreeshen, won a July 2022 nomination contest by a narrow 8-votes.
Local UCP President and the junior Dreeshen’s uncle, Charlie Moore, is defiant.
“They’re storming the castle and we’re heating up the boiling oil, I guess,” Moore told the Western Standard. “I’ve sent my troops forward to try to talk to some of the more logical ones in that group. We have to convert some of them. Surely there’s some common sense in there somewhere. They can’t all be totally extremists.”
Candidate nomination updates
Here are the latest updates to the growing list of Alberta election nomination candidates:
Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock: Landen Tischer is expected to be nominated as the NDP candidate in this sprawling rural riding north of Edmonton at a February 25 nomination meeting. Check out his TikTok’s.
Calgary-Lougheed: Mark Fiselier is the second candidate to enter the UCP nomination contest in the riding formerly represented by Jason Kenney. Fiselier is a business development analyst and president of the UCP association in Calgary-Varsity. Max DeGroat is also running for the nomination.
Calgary-North East – Inderjit Grewal has joined the UCP nomination contest in this riding currently represented by cabinet minister Rajan Sawhney. Former Dashmesh Culture Centre chairman Harjit Singh Saroya is also running for the nomination.
Cypress-Medicine Hat: Independent MLA Drew Barnes announced he will not seek the UCP nomination to run for re-election. The former UCP was kicked out of the governing caucus in 2021 after becoming one of Kenney’s biggest internal public critics. He and now-returned UCP MLA Todd Loewen formed an unofficial UCP-caucus-in-exile during their banishment but Barnes did not return into the UCP fold when Loewen ran for the party leadership in 2022. Barnes publicly mused in 2021 about starting a rural-based political party.
Edmonton-Ellerslie: Ranjit Bath was nominated as the UCP candidate in this southeast Edmonton riding.
Livingstone-Macleod: Lawyer Christina Lee is the fourth candidate to enter the UCP nomination contest in this southwest Alberta riding. Also running are Tanya Clemens, Kevin Todd, and Don Whalen. This second nomination contest is happening after the sole candidate in the previous race, former People’s Party candidate Nadine Wellwood, was disqualified by the UCP for equating COVID-19 vaccine requirements to Germany’s Nazi regime.
Upcoming nomination meetings
Candidate nomination votes are scheduled for the following dates:
- February 6 – Innisfail-Sylvan Lake NDP
- February 13 – Drumheller-Stettler NDP
- February 15 – Calgary-Klein NDP
- February 15 – Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre NDP
- February 17 – Lacombe-Ponoka UCP
- February 25 – Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock NDP
- February 28 – Cypress-Medicine Hat NDP
Daveberta Podcast now on Substack
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