Health Minister Stephen Mandel dethroned in Edmonton Whitemud
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It was a first for Stephen Mandel Tuesday night, after the three-time Edmonton mayor lost his seat in the provincial legislature.
Mandel — who had won the Edmonton-Whitemud riding just six months ago with more than 40 per cent of the vote — lost to NDP’s Dr. Bob Turner.
The final tally showed Turner clinched 57 per cent of the vote, while Mandel trailed with a mere 32 per cent.
“Quite clearly the people of Whitemud have spoke,” Mandel said in way of his concession speech. “It was a good campaign. There was no underhandedness, and it was nice to see that.”
Flanked by Matt Jeneroux and Chris LaBossiere — who both lost to NDP candidates in their Edmonton-South West and Edmonton-Rutherford ridings — Mandel told a crowd of about 100 campaign volunteers and supporters it was a challenge to see the Progressive Conservatives face such a defeat, especially in Edmonton.
The former city councilor and mayor had run for in the October byelection after then premier Jim Prentice appointed him to the province’s health portfolio in September.
“It’s been a real thrill and honour to be the health minister for the period of time that I was,” he said. “It was also a thrill to represent Whitemud, which is an amazing community and great group of people.”
Edmonton-Whitemud, once considered a conservative strong hold, had been former MLA Dave Hancock’s riding since 1997 up until he stepped down and Mandel stepped up.
Turner, who faced off against Mandel just in the byelection and lost by a heavy margin, credited his party’s leader with the turnaround.
“The major difference was Rachel Notley leading an atmosphere of very positive change,” he said.
Turner also called the Tories badly out of touch with voters, which helped secure the NDP majority.
“I think the Prentice government made some errors. They didn’t respond to the needs of Albertans,” he said.