ABOVE: Gordon Dirks addresses supporters Monday night in the riding of Calgary-Elbow.
It was considered by many as the race to watch Monday as Albertans headed to the polls in four byelections, but in the end, Alberta’s unelected education minister, Gordon Dirks, won the riding of Calgary Elbow.
With all of the riding’s 83 polls reporting, Dirks ended up with 4,207 votes. Alberta Party leader and entrepreneur Greg Clark placed second with 3,412 votes.
READ MORE: Alberta PCs sweep byelections; win all four seats
The riding has long been a Tory stronghold, home to two Progressive Conservative premiers, Ralph Klein and Alison Redford. But with scandal plaguing Redford during her two and a half years in the premier’s office, opposition parties were hoping for a breakthrough in Calgary Elbow. That didn’t happen.
Dirks’ campaign was dogged by allegations of unfair politics. Opposition candidates in the riding claimed he was using his position as education minister to get votes. Last week Dirks announced modular classrooms for a school in his riding that was low on the priority list. The Alberta Party filed a complaint with the province’s Ethics Commissioner.
Dirks, a former chair of the Calgary Board of Education and evangelical pastor, was one of two unelected people named to Premier Jim Prentice’s cabinet in September.
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