Of the 5 races going on this weekend, i've managed to get conclusive info on the winners in 4 of them (everywhere except Bonnyville-Cold Lake).
In Grande Prairie-Wapiti, former MD of Greenview councillor Wayne Drysdale will carry the PC banner as MLA and former Gaming Minister Gord Graydon retires. Mr. Drysdale appears to have an impressive and well-diversified background. I'm confident he will be an excellent representative for his constituents.
In Athabasca-Redwater, businessman Jeff Johnson won the nomination (reportedly thanks to an impressive turnout at the advance polls). As I have said earlier, Jeff comes from some of the finest political stock in the province. I know that his dad, retiring Wetaskiwin-Camrose MLA LeRoy Johnson has much to be proud of and that his mom Dianne, who lost her battle with cancer last year, is looking down on him with the same pride. I look forward to meeting Jeff and watching him at work for the people of Athabasca-Redwater. Kudos also to my friend Monty Bauer who ran a supurb campaign and has every reason to finish this race with his head held high.
Edmonton-Ellerslie has chosen Naresh Bhardwaj as their candidate in the next election. Naresh was our candidate in Edmonton-Mill Woods in 2004 and ran what was probably the most above-board race against new Liberal candidate (and now MLA) Weslyn Mather. After the election, Naresh was elected to serve as the Southeast Edmonton Regional Director on the PC Executive. I wish my former executive colleague all the best as he works to unseat one-term Liberal MLA Bharat Agnihotri. Mr. Agnihotri's most notable accomplishment to date has been getting himself thrown out of the Chamber for failing to understand the rules of Parliamentary decorum.
Finally, Lethbridge West PCs have chosen former City Alderman Greg Weadick to replace Clint Dunford when he retires at the end of this term. As you know, I was rooting for friend Justin (JC) Penny in this race. His youth, enthusiasm, and unique perspective on issues would have served the people of Alberta well. I certainly hope this defeat won't dampen his enthusiasm for the party, we still need voices like his to help shape our future.
Speaking of youth and enthusiasm, let me introduce you all to T.J. Keil. T.J. is a fellow young conservative who is running in tomorrow's PC nomination in Edmonton Highlands-Norwood. This riding is, as you probably know, home to Alberta's top socialist, Brian Mason. T.J. will be facing former Liberal/PC MLA Andrew Beniuk. I have nothing against Andrew, but its time for some new blood in this party.
The fact that T.J. is showing such spirit and enthusiasm in the face of what will be one of the toughest seats for our party to win is exactly why I support his efforts 110%. Someone with the kind of drive that T.J. brings is precisely what many of our constituency associations need.
So if you or anyone you know lives in Edmonton Highlands-Norwood, grab $5 for a PC membership, head on down to the Alberta Avenue Community League Hall (9210 - 118th Avenue) anytime between 5 and 8pm, and give an aspiring MLA a chance.
And, if you do head down, say hi to Constituency President Parker Hogan... he's one of the most solid Flames fans in Edmonton.
Enjoy the Grey Cup folks... go Bombers!