Food truck owner Justin Wright defeated former Western Standard vice-president of operations James Finkbeiner to win the United Conservative Party nomination in Cypress-Medicine Hat.
Wright is the owner of the Fryer Tuck’s food truck and catering, which also runs a number of concessions around Medicine Hat. He ran for city council in 2021 and is the chairman of the Spectrum Festival committee.
Wright is expected to face MLA Drew Barnes, who has represented the riding since 2012 and is widely believed to be running for re-elected as an Independent candidate. Barnes was kicked out of the UCP Caucus in 2021 for being a general thorn in the side of former premier Jason Kenney.
But despite being elected as a Wildrose MLA at the same time as Danielle Smith in 2012, Barnes was not welcomed back into the UCP tent after the new premier was sworn-in to office last October.
The Alberta NDP have nominated Prairie Rose Public Schools chairperson Cathy Hogg. Hogg has served as a trustee on the school board since 2013.
Paul Hinman’s Wildrose Loyalty Coalition
Months after he was removed as leader of the Wildrose Independence Party, it appears as though Paul Hinman is starting another new Wildrose Party.
The appearance of a new “Wildrose Loyalty Coalition” banner on Hinman’s Facebook page and the appearance of the group on the “Reserved Party Names” list maintained by Elections Alberta caught the attention of some political watchers. And a website for the new party now confirms it.
‘Albertans are in a dysfunctional relationship with Ottawa and must take control of our future. We shall determine our path forward, NOT legacy political parties who divide the people, usurp freedoms, and enforce ruinous social, economic, and environmental policies,’ says a statement on the Wildrose Loyalty Coalition website that also lists Hinman as leader.
Hinman has a long history in Alberta politics and best-known for having served as Wildrose MLA in two separate ridings and as leader of that party before Danielle Smith became leader in 2009.
But more recently, he served as the founding leader of the separatist Wildrose Independence Party, which was a merger of the Freedom Conservative Party and the Wexit Alberta group, from 2020 until he was ousted in 2022. Hinman loyalists briefly retook control over the party before their takeover was overruled in courts.
Other nomination updates
- The UCP has set April 3 as the date for its nomination vote in Grande Prairie. Gladys Blackmore, Nolan Dyck, Larry Gibson, and Tayyab Parvez are in the race to succeed retiring MLA Tracy Allard as the candidate in that northern Alberta riding.
- Daniel Birrell has been nominated as the Green Party candidate in Spruce Grove-Stony Plain.
Upcoming nomination votes
With around 70 days left until Election Day, the Alberta NDP and the UCP have both nominated candidates in 77 of Alberta’s 87 ridings. The Green Party has 27 candidates, the Alberta Party has nominated 12 candidates and the Liberal Party has one.
Candidate nomination votes are currently scheduled for the following dates:
- March 18 – Leduc-Beaumont UCP
- March 18, 19, 20 – Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre IP
- April 1 – Calgary-North East UCP
- April 3 – Grande Prairie UCP
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