Alta Newspaper Group
There was a moment on election night when UCP supporters in the Cardston-Siksika constituency might have felt a flicker of worry.
But that passed quickly after the first poll results showing an NDP lead in the riding were replaced with a commanding lead by Joseph Schow that never relented.
Then shortly after 9 p.m., with plenty of polls yet to report, Schow had a big enough lead to be declared the winner, and he couldn’t hide the excitement in his voice.
“I’m surrounded by friends and family here, and I’m really excited,” he said from his campaign office in Cardston.
Given the electoral history of the southern-most portion of Alberta, Schow had little to worry about this election. But he still wasn’t counting his votes before they were cast.
“Until the final ballot is counted, it’s never final.”
Although he had confidence in his team and party, Schow said he didn’t underestimate his opponents, and he knew the NDP and its candidate in Cardston-Siksika, Kirby Smith, would be pulling out all the stops.
Attempts to contact Smith election night were unsuccesful.
Although Independent Party candidate Ian Donovan maintained second place early in the polls, Smith gradually overtook him, securing second spot himself, although several thousand votes less than Schow.
It wasn’t a close race, but no one really thought it would be, even with the major boundary change from the old Cardston-Taber-Warner constituency.
In 2015, the Wildrose Party handily won the election over its next closest rival, the Progressive Conservative Party, and the election before that the Wildrose Alliance Party did the same thing.
This election, with the amalgamation of Wildrose and PC into the United Conservative Party, there was little doubt the UCP would emerge victorious, even with the uncertainty created by reducing the boundary’s reach to the east and expanding it to the north, into what was once Little Bow.
In 2015 in Little Bow, the Wildrose Party narrowly defeated the Conservative Party, and the NDP was breathing down their necks and wasn’t far behind in third.
“Like the Cardston-Siksika race, the UCP took an early lead provincially and never looked back. But now the real work begins,” Schow said.
He said as the new party in the province, the UCP has to earn its place in the province’s political arena, and that will be done with a lot of hard work — after taking a little rest from an exhausting campaign in which Schow travelled thousands of kilometres and even wore out some shoes while talking to thousands of people.
“The first order of business is to have a bit of a nap, and get to know my family again.”
Then he’ll get to work helping the government create jobs, strengthen the agriculture sector, support education and healthcare, and even repeal the carbon tax.
“We will do amazing things for Alberta families,” Schow said. “I’m excited to represent my constituents and do right by them.”