October 27, 2014 11:13 pm
Updated: October 28, 2014 2:44 am

Alberta byelections: Premier Prentice wins seat in Calgary-Foothills

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ABOVE: Jim Prentice speaks to PC supporters after his byelection victory in Calgary Foothills.

Jim Prentice will be interviewed Tuesday morning on the Morning News in Calgary and Edmonton.

CALGARY – Premier Jim Prentice will represent the riding of Calgary-Foothills when the Alberta legislature resumes next month.

Prentice won Monday’s byelection in Calgary-Foothills with 58% of the vote and almost twice the votes of his closest opponent, Wildrose candidate Kathy MacDonald.

Liberal candidate Robert Prcic came in third with only 458 votes followed by the NDP candidate. The candidate for the Alberta Party placed last.

The byelections, three in Calgary and one in Edmonton, were widely considered a test for Alberta’s PC party in the wake of the Alison Redford era, which saw the party’s popularity plummet. The Tories ended up winning all four byelection races.

READ MORE: Alberta PCs sweep byelections; win all four seats

“It’s an unbelievable night, an incredible night,” Prentice told supporters Monday evening.

“It’s a message that people want us to carry on with the good work we started.”

WATCH: Prentice takes the podium in Calgary Elbow, where Gordon Dirks won the riding for the PCs.

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Prentice, a former federal cabinet minister, won the leadership of Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives on Sept. 6 after Redford’s resignation in August.

In the weeks that followed the leadership vote, Prentice announced hundreds of millions of dollars for dozens of new schools and  1,200 new seniors’ care spaces throughout Alberta.

He also announced the controversial fleet of government planes would be sold and he reversed an unpopular decision to close the Michener Centre in Red Deer.

The race in Calgary-Foothills was not without controversy. Prentice came under fire for not attending any debates in the riding, which prompted his rivals to put a pumpkin in front of his empty chair on stage. That led to the nickname “Pumpkin Premier.”

Prentice fired back, criticizing the Wildrose party for targeting him in attack ads, arguing political “courtesies” traditionally give a party leader a break in byelections.

In his speech Monday night, he credited the byelection wins in part to the party’s positive campaign.

Oposition parties accused Prentice of being equally discourteous by running a passive-aggressive campaign for his candidates using taxpayer money.

READ MORE: ‘It’s continued anger and negativity’: Premier Prentice on attack ads

The byelection outcomes don’t have the potential to change the balance of power.

The Tories held 57 seats in the 87-seat legislature when the byelections were called. The Wildrose had 17, the Liberals five and the NDP four.

Follow our live coverage of the byelections below:

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