The Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner constituency has historically voted Conservative blue. In the 2015 federal election, MP Jim Hillyer won the seat with nearly 70 per cent of the vote, with the Liberals in second place with 18 per cent.
The riding is one of the newest in Canada. Following the 2012 election, boundaries were redrawn to accommodate the growing population of the Lethbridge constituency. The southern part of the riding was amalgamated and renamed Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner.
Rick Casson represented the riding of Lethbridge from 1997 to 2011 and said the riding has unique challenges because it stretches across such a large area.
“You go from the Rocky Mountains to the foothills, grasslands out to Sweet Grass Hills out to the Saskatchewan border in this new riding,” Casson said.
“It is extremely diverse. Agriculture drives part of it and oil and gas will drive the other.”
Dr. Faron Ellis with the Citizen Society Research Centre at Lethbridge College said given southern Alberta’s track record of voting Conservative, if another party gets elected in the byelection, it will come as a surprise.
Casson said his best piece of advice for the winner is to be in the riding as much as possible.
“You have to listen to the people; they have to understand that you are there for them,” Casson said. “They want to see you – they want to be able to come up to you and talk to you. That’s critical. Without that, you don’t have a leg to stand on.”