Calgary-Elbow is going to come down to who got out the vote, and barring a last-second miracle that's going to be Craig Cheffins of the Liberals. Drumheller-Stettler is over, as the Tories will hold the seat.
Here, mainstream media, I'll take care of your headlines for you: "Calgary rebukes Country Cabinet, while Boonies are a Boon for Ed". Now that THAT nonsense is out of the way...
Calgary-Elbow, as I've stated previously, wasn't held for years because of its "True Blue" conservative values - it was held by Ralph Klein's personal charisma. Whichever candidate wins the day in Elbow - it looks at this point like it will be Craig Cheffins, with a safe lead and only 5 polls left to report - it will be because he convinced the voters that he would do a good job of representing them and their interests in Edmonton. Heninger can NOT have helped his case that way when he referred to Dave Bronconnier as "whining" on behalf of Calgarian interests a few weeks back - an ill-advised slip that might, when all was said and done, have cost Brian this race. This close result and apparent Liberal pick-up isn't a reflection of Calgary's disdain for Ed Stelmach or his government, it's a reflection of the fact that Elbow is, at the best of times, a centrist riding that can be won by either "centrist-ish" party, depending on the candidate. If Cheffins wins, it will be because of Craig Cheffins and his campaign (or the aforementioned "whining" remark), not because of anything Ed Stelmach did or didn't do.
As for Drumheller-Stettler, the big story here isn't the Tory win, but rather the devastatingly poor showing of the Alberta Alliance. Southern, Rural Alberta, long considered a hotbed of Alliance-style discontent with the Red Tory government in Edmonton, has given the Alliance only slightly more votes in this by-election than it gave the Green Party. Whatever the Alliance is doing wrong, they'd better figure it out, quickly, if they intend to be the next party of the Right to ride a wave of public discontent to a decades-long reign.
With 72 polls reporting:
Brian Heninger, PC 3,589 votes (38%)
Craig Cheffins, LIB 4,267 votes (45%)
With 53 polls reporting:
Jack Hayden, PC 3,266votes (61%)
Dave France, AA 252 votes (5%)
Tom Dooley, LIB 569 votes (11%)