It is election day in Alberta and before I have anything else to say, I have this important thing to say: VOTE!

It will only take a few minutes but it is fundamentally important to our province. Before the campaign started, many pundits were predicting a strong PC majority and very low voter turnout. But, by today, we have laid witness to one of the most profound and interesting campaigns of the last 44 years. Be a part of it.

Without further adieu, I would like to outline a few close races to watch for as the results pour in and also to offer my predictions for the final tally.

Bellwether Ridings

Keep an eye on these ridings, which appear to be some of the closest competitions in the election. The results for these bellwether ridings will help to indicate how well any particular party will do and what the end result may be across the province.

Three Calgary area ridings will be close three-way races between the PCs, WRP and NDP. Each has a PC incumbent, but no real star candidates. These results should indicate the relative strength of any of the three parties in Calgary

  • Calgary-Hawkwood
  • Calgary-Lougheed
  • Calgary Northern Hills

One more riding in Calgary will be close, although the NDP will likely be further behind. It also features a former Wildrose party president dropping the gloves against the Redford-era bullying minister.

  • Calgary-North West

Edmonton is looking like an NDP sweep, but if the Tories can hold a few ridings here, albeit with high profile candidates, it will show some potential strength. Watch these ridings:

  • Edmonton-Millcreek
  • Edmonton-Rutherford
  • Edmonton-Whitemud

A few races outside of the big metros should be quite close and results could be extrapolated to show the provincial trends:

  • Ft McMurray – Conklin: Wildrose leader takes on PC minister with a strong NDP campaign. Three way race.
  • Lesser Slave Lake: Long term PC MLA in a three-way race.
  • Sherwood Park: Two former mayors fight with NDP hot on heels.
  • Spruce Grove-St. Albert: @308dotcom projects NDP win in Horner country, but I’m not convinced.

Other Interesting Ridings

These ridings may not necessarily be the closest ridings, but for one reason or another offer a compelling reason to watch.

Calgary Buffalo: Incumbent Liberal MLA Kent Hehr has decided to take a run at federal politics. The Liberals put up a strong candidate in David Khan, but so did the PCs in Terry Rock. The Orange Wave could still play spoiler.

Calgary Elbow: This rematch of the fall 2014 by-election pits PC Education Minister Gordon Dirks against Alberta Party leader Greg Clark in a traditionally strong conservative riding. Polls and pundits have called this race neck-in-neck.

Calgary Mountain View: Interim Liberal leader, David Swann, is a confident, smart, respectable and well-liked MLA, but he could fall victim to an NDP surge in one of the few ridings that will be fought on the left end of the spectrum. It would be a shame if Swann were to be kept out of the leg.

Edmonton Centre: Laurie Blakeman is an outstanding MLA and deserves big kudos for the victory on GSAs, but she is facing stiff challenge from the NDP’s David Shephard. If the leg were to lose Blakeman it would be a big blow but it would not be her fault.

Both Chestermere-Rocky View and Calgary Acadia have had interesting candidate stories, so they will be fun to keep an eye on, but I suspect they both go Wildrose.

My Prediction

Just because it’s fun to do, I’m guessing we will see an NDP minority.

  • NDP: 37 seats
  • Wildrose: 29
  • PC: 19
  • Liberals: 1
  • Alberta Party: 1

We’re in Alberta and we have a rare close and exciting campaign, so at the end of the day, Albertans will win.