Three politicians walk into an election with varying degrees of preparation. The incumbent has the advantage of knowing when the election will be called. The other two know it will be called, think they know when it will be called, and then have to scramble when it is actually called.
And scramble is the verb. The Wildrose picked their man in Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock Mar. 14, just 24 days before the writ was dropped Apr. 7. The NDP acclaimed their man just 11 days before the election was called.
Less than a month to prep and the normal 28 days to work a campaign made for a bit of work. But all three candidates hit the hustings and door steps to unfurl their platforms and aspirations to be the constituency’s next MLA.
This period of door knocking was briefly punctuated by a much appreciated but flaccid All Candidates Forum put on by the Chamber, Rotary, teachers’ unions, and sponsored by this publication. It was flaccid in its draw of just 150 from the community, flaccid in the predictability of the submitted and “rewritten-for-clarity” questions, and mostly flaccid in the delivery of many of the responses from candidates. If ums and ahhs were votes, all three would have scored well.
Unlike the provincial leader’s debate that had its clear winners and losers, according to the media that covered the event, the Morinville forum had little in the way of a clear-cut winner. If one sought a winner by the level of clapping — it was a three-way draw of little more than polite applause, the type of rhythmic politeness that is as Albertan as a maple glazed doughnut and a large double-double. But if one were to judge forum momentum by random whistles and crowd mutterings, then Turner and Van Dijken were in a two-way tie with left and right attendees. Not surprising in a race where the incumbent PCs were criticized for suggesting a different way by voters who say they never change.
Minor pratfalls occurred with two of the candidates — but a missed fact on schools and failing to acknowledge the party leader, while making for some mildly amusing Twitter snark, hardly is enough to win or lose an election.
Locally, all three candidates made an effort to knock on some doors — both going curb to step and by having booths at the recent trade show.
In the end, the last 28 days can be summed up as an election few wanted and poll numbers that was perhaps the biggest surprise of the campaign.
To find out if voter turnout and ballot results matched the so-called Orange Crush — visit MorinvilleNews.com May 6.