Haven't heard any of the speeches or anything, if any have been made - just a few impressions that flew through my head as I got word, and a quick look at the numbers.
Ed Stelmach's victory is proof positive that the democratic system of "one member, one vote" can work.
Consider: Stelmach was NOT the first choice of 65% of those who voted on Saturday. And yet, 58% of the ballots counted in the "3rd ballot" had Ed Stelmach on them. In truth, the total was likely much closer to 80%, but we'll never know exactly how many Dinning voters had Stelmach ranked as number 2. The point is: We didn't have a clear cut winner, but we have a consensus, and now we can move forward as a party, with Ed doing his damnedest to heal the deep rifts that this race has caused within the party.
We have NOT heard the last of Ted Morton, not by a longshot. He'll re-surface - but perhaps not with the PC Party, which rejected his view of Alberta overwhelmingly tonight. He could still be a force, though - consider the fact that more Albertans voted for the federal Tories in the last Federal Election than voted in the ENTIRE provincial election, all parties, combined, in 2004. Those extra 500,000 Tories and their votes could sure affect a provincial election that was won by a party boasting less than a half million votes in total, province-wide. It was personally satisfying to me, though, to see Ted finish 3rd. After dismissing Dinning this week as unable to get any more votes than the 30,000 he tallied last Saturday, Morton only drew 14,000 new votes this time, to Dinning's 21,000 new votes and Stelmach's THIRTY-FIVE THOUSAND new votes.
Dinning is done... Jim's going to be offered a position within the party, but he's had the rug pulled out from under him - much of it the doing of himself and his campaign strategists - and is going to lick his wounds outside of the public sphere. This campaign was a shining example of how to lose a job after you've already measured the office for curtains, and will be cited in countless political science courses for generations.
As for Ed Stelmach, Alberta's 13th Premier - I hope he does well. His competition at this point is limited. The biggest liability the Liberals have is their name - under any other name, Kevin Taft might be a legitimate threat. The Alberta Alliance will have a hell of a time winning in either Rural Alberta OR Northern Alberta, with Stelmach as Premier. We'll see what Morton can do with them in a couple years.
I'll review Stelmach's platform later on in the week, along with an analysis of the "best of the losing platforms", and comments on the Stephane Dion victory for the Federal Liberals.
But it's 3:15, and I am going to bed, comfortable with the knowledge that the Gestapo won't be knocking on my door tomorrow morning, demanding to know if I'm harbouring a same-sex couple. :)
p.s. Best results I've found thus far on Larry Johnsrude's blog.