Peter Guthrie has ensured the Airdrie-Cochrane riding will remain blue for the next four years, after securing his second election victory on May 29.
With 15 of 15 polls reporting after midnight on Tuesday, Elections Alberta's unofficial results confirmed that Guthrie, the UCP incumbent, had amassed 17,019 votes, or approximately 60 per cent of the riding's total.
While issues with many of Elections Alberta's tabulators meant results trickled in slowly on election night, Guthrie's victory was projected relatively early, around 10 p.m., after he had collected enough votes from the first polls to be confirmed as the riding's decisive winner.
Guthrie declined requests for interviews from Great West Media reporters on Monday. Instead, he thanked supporters for their votes on social media on Tuesday morning.
"Thank you Airdrie-Cochrane!! I am honoured to be your representative in Alberta’s legislature," he wrote.
"We are out removing signs today. Give us a honk to celebrate all the volunteers that have made our campaign a success."
This marks Guthrie's second election win, after he was also successful in his first political election for the UCP back in 2019.
Guthrie's closest challenger this election was the NDP's Shaun Fluker, who garnered 11,097 votes, or 37 per cent per cent of the ballot.
After the vote was confirmed, Fluker issued a concession statement to the Cochrane Eagle, offering congratulations to Guthrie on his win.
"I also want to acknowledge all of the contestants for putting themselves forward in this election," he wrote. "Our democratic process thrives on robust and competitive campaigns, and I commend each of them for their commitment to democracy in Alberta.
"To all who offered their support to my campaign in this election, I'm truly grateful. We didn't get the result we were hoping for, but we did inspire others to push for change and the Alberta NDP will continue to work towards a more positive future for the people of Airdrie-Cochrane and the entire province of Alberta."
Rounding out the field of candidates in Airdrie-Cochrane was Michelle Overwater-Giles of the Green Party, who collected 388 votes, Michael Andrusco of the Solidarity Movement of Alberta with 195 votes, and Ron Voss of the Alberta Loyalty Commission with 182 votes.
Though he finished the local race at the bottom of the standings, Voss said he was relieved by the election's overall results, which saw the UCP retain a majority government over the NDP. The conservative party received enough votes to secure at least 49 ridings compared to the NDP's 38. (Forty-four is required for a majority).
As per the results, UCP leader Danielle Smith will retain her role as premier, keeping the NDP's Rachel Notley as the "Leader of the Official Opposition."
"I think Smith sort of showed confidence and people are looking for hope," Voss told The Eagle on Monday night. "So I think she ran a good campaign and I think she did very well in the debate.
"She wasn't frazzled by the attacks that she was receiving."
As a member of a party other than the UCP or NDP, Voss knew that winning the riding was not necessarily in the cards, but that he appreciated the support he received nonetheless.
"I'm exceedingly grateful for those people who voted for me," he said. "I'm not part of the big parties, so I appreciate that very much."
According to Elections Alberta's unofficial results, (which will have to be made official within 10 days of the vote) this year's election saw 1,763,441 votes cast.
—With files from Howard May and Daniel Gonzalez/The Cochrane Eagle