The riding of Crowfoot covers a fairly wide swath of Central Alberta, sharing boundaries with the City of Calgary and heading East and North from there. I'd like to tell you that this is going to be a race, that campaigns matter, and that 3 weeks is a long time in politics - but the result here is all but guaranteed. In 2004, Conservative Kevin Sorenson won this riding by 40,000 votes, capturing 82.5% of votes cast. Remember when John Ashcroft lost a U.S. Senate election to a dead opponent? Kevin Sorenson could go into a coma and win this riding with 75% of the votes cast.
Kevin Sorenson (CPC) - Sorenson has been this riding's MP since 2000, when he won 70% of votes cast as a member of the Canadian Alliance. He registered 80% support in the 2004 election, and 82.5% in 2006. It appears that Sorenson is aiming to, at this rate, be the first MP ever elected unanimously. The Camrose-area farmer isn't too likely to find himself in the cabinet, but he's more than making up for it with his committee work-load.
Sharon Howe (Lib) - A 2-time candidate for the Alberta Liberals (1997 and 2004), Sharon Howe is a former Air Force brat who shares a love of mine - old maps. The community-minded Howe is going to have plenty of time to write her next book after this bloodbath is over.
Ellen Parker (NDP) - Ellen Parker was actually the runner-up in this riding in 2006, having previously finished 3rd in 2004. Now, you'd think this makes her due to win this time around, and you might be right - but it's still not going to happen. Look for the substitute teacher and activist to pull in her usual 6-8% of the votes.
Cameron Wigmore (Grn) - Wigmore ran for the Greens here in 2006, pulling in nearly 5% of the vote. The saxophonist and music teacher, who has been living in B.C., maintains a blog, so bonus marks from the Enlightened Savage. There seems to be a little confusion, as Wigmore is identified in several media outlets as the Green candidate in Crowfoot, yet he's not listed on the Green Party website or, more reliably, on daveberta's list of Alberta candidates.
Take a look at: Kevin Sorenson. When the result is already assured, some candidates take it easy, and some work harder than ever. Which type is Sorenson?
Edmonton Centre, most will recall, is the former home riding of "Landslide Annie" herself, Anne McLellan. The popular former Deputy Prime Minister was defeated in 2006 by Conservative Laurie Hawn, who is seeking re-election this time around. The riding historically has been a pretty even mix of conservative and liberal voters, as evidenced by the close results here federally, and the fact that the riding is mostly shaded red on the map of provincial ridings. Hawn is facing a re-invigorated Liberal opponent in Jim Wachowich, and (as it always is), this downtown-area riding will be one to watch as the polling numbers come in on October 14th.
Laurie Hawn (CPC) - Laurie Hawn ran for MP here in 2004, losing narrowly to McLellan. Never one to surrender, the retired Air Force Lieutenant-Colonel took another stab at it in 2006, and won by 3,000 votes. Most recently having served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Hawn is hoping to hold this seat for the Tories - a tall order, considering his Liberal opponent. His website features a banner with a particularly spooky-looking Stephen Harper. Hawn has a blog, but it hasn't been updated since March of 2007. Insert your own Tory campaign platform joke here.
Jim Wachowich (Lib) - Jim Wachowich is a lawyer and consumer's advocate, who asserts out that the riding's strong representation under Anne McLellan is sorely lacking under the current MP. The Wachowich campaign is going gang-busters in trying to win this riding back for Big Red, and nothing inspires a more tenacious effort than the swift kick in the pants they collectively received in 2006. Wachowich is apparently winning the sign wars in the riding (for what little that's worth), and is by all accounts setting a blistering pace on the door-knocking front. The campaign is organized, the candidate is energized - now, can the message resonate with the voters?
Donna Martyn (NDP) - Donna Martyn finished third in this riding in 2006, and has also previously run for the Alberta NDP in the riding of Edmonton Riverview in 2004. This school-teacher is an advocate for the rights of those with disabilities and mobility challenges, and succesfully complained to the Alberta Human Rights Commission regarding the lack of 24-hour taxi service for mobility-challenged users in Edmonton. While this is a strong part of Edmonton for the provincial New Democrats, many provincial NDP supporters cast their federal ballots with the Liberals, hoping for a left-friendly result. This is likely to be the case this time as well, as those same New Democrat supporters saw what happened when they voted their conscience instead of strategically in 2006, and ended up with a Conservative MP.
David Parker (Grn) - David Parker was the leader of the Alberta Greens from 1996-2001. He ran unsuccessfully twice in Edmonton Goldbar and twice in Edmonton Centre provincially, as well as twice in the federal riding of Edmonton Centre. Parker blogs, which is always a good sign (I firmly believe that the better a person's blog entries, the more inclined people should be to vote for them if and when they run for office - but I may be a bit biased). That said, Parker's goal here is simply to win the party's traditional 3,000-or-so votes, and hold the banner high. He'll do both of those, but don't expect too much more.
Margaret Saunter (CH) - Margaret Saunter ran in the provincial riding of Edmonton Centre in 2008, capturing 0.46% of votes cast. Saunter also finished 14th in the Ward 4 City Councillor race for Edmonton in 2007. While she is not listed on the Christian Heritage Party website as a candidate as yet, Saunter will be trying to poach votes from Laurie Hawn based on the Conservative Party's deplorable record of showing respect for plurality and for Canadians of different faiths. Oh, the shame!
Savannah Linklater (Ltn) - The Libertarians get into the act with candidate Savannah Linklater. Linklater is the Deputy Leader of the party, and will have a hard time convincing folks in one of the reddest parts of Red-monton that the best government is no government at all.
Take a look at: Jim Wachowich. This riding has spent a lot of time in Liberal hands, and the party organization is strong here. Wachowich isn't the favourite to take the riding - that goes to the incumbent - but he's not much of an underdog, either. If I'm still up at 2 a.m. Mountain Time on October 15th, it'll likely be this riding I'm watching.