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Ballot battlegrounds: Edmonton-area ridings to watch this Alberta election

With advance voting open in Alberta and election day looming on May 29, CTV News Edmonton has compiled a list of ridings to watch in the capital region.

Analysts have touted Calgary as the area where the election will be won or lost for the UCP and NDP, but a number of Edmonton-area ridings could prove pivotal for the two main parties.

Here are seven ridings to watch in the Edmonton area, with insights from political analyst John Brennan.

EDMONTON-SOUTH WEST

This is the lone Edmonton riding the United Conservatives won in 2019.

The UCP incumbent, Kaycee Madu, received 44.99 per cent of the votes in 2019, with that year's NDP candidate, John Archer, a close second with 41.85 per cent.

Madu was a member of cabinet in both the Jason Kenney and Danielle Smith governments. His time in office came with a number of high-profile controversies.

Nathan Ip, an Edmonton Public School Board vice-chair and trustee, is running for the NDP in this year's election.

Jeff Cullihall is running for the Green Party of Alberta.

Brennan: "It is literally going to be a coin flip."

"If [the UCP] are going to win the election, they will not want to lose Edmonton-South West."

"The NDP is so strong in Edmonton…it's gonna be very difficult for Kayce Madu to survive that tsunami of support for the NDP in Edmonton."

SPRUCE GROVE-STONY PLAIN

UCP incumbent Searle Turton won this riding west of Edmonton with nearly 60 per cent of the vote four years ago.

"People know what they're going to get: someone that's open, accessible, that supports local business, that is well connected to this area," Turton told CTV News Edmonton.

The Alberta NDP, which won this riding in 2015, has a new candidate in Chantal Saramaga-McKenzie.

She's been a city councillor in Spruce Grove since 2017.

"I worked 20-plus years as an engineer; I worked for the province; I worked for the municipalities; I worked for the private sector along with being a city councillor and owning businesses," Saramaga-McKenzie said. "I am just letting people know that I will be a voice for them."

The NDP won this area in 2015 and hopes to regain it along with other surrounding seats, to extend its control beyond Edmonton city limits.

Daniel Birrell is running for the Green Party and Darlene Clark is running for the Solidarity Movement.

Brennan: "I would say the Spruce Grove-Stony Plain riding would be leaning UCP."

"The incumbent MLA Searle Turton, he won that riding quite handily in 2019…that's a lot of votes to flip."

"It will be really challenging [for the NDP]."

SHERWOOD PARK AND STRATHCONA-SHERWOOD PARK

The UCP flipped these two ridings east of Edmonton in 2019 after NDP wins in the election before.

The candidates CTV News Edmonton interviewed in both ridings brought up health care and education as primary concerns in their communities.

Jordan Walker is running again in Sherwood Park after a narrow win with 45.37 per cent of the vote.

"Maintaining record levels of health care and education, that's the message we're getting out there," Walker said.

The NDP has a new candidate in Kyle Kasawski, the president of a solar power company.

"There was an attack on education and an absurd curriculum that came in," he said. "I really felt that reasonable people need to step up and run for public office."

Jacob Stacey is running for the Liberal Party and Sue Timanson is running for the Alberta Party.

Over in Strathcona-Sherwood Park, Nate Glubish is running for the UCP after he won the riding with more than 50 per cent of the votes four years ago. Glublish oversaw two ministries in the past four years: Technology and Innovation and Service Alberta.

"I've been able to get three new schools approved and funded and those will be under construction in sequence over the next couple years," Glubish said.

The New Democrats have a new candidate in Strathcona-Sherwood Park in Bill Tonita, a former educator and two-term councillor in Strathcona County.

"Health care is first and foremost in people's minds," Tonita said. "Probably every day when I go to the doors right now, people say, 'I don't have a family doctor, my doctor just moved to B.C.,' and they're frustrated and they're worried."

Jody Balanko is running as an independent.

Brennan: "The one that is very flippable is Jordan Walker…the NDP recruited a great candidate."

"I think the NDP have to win a majority of the seats in the suburbs of Edmonton and there's seven of them. I think they need to win four or five of them. Sherwood Park is definitely one of the ridings they need to win."

"[Strathcona-Sherwood Park] will be more difficult for the NDP to flip."

"I think there's a lot of optimism on the part of the NDP that they can flip Strathcona-Sherwood Park. On the other hand, Nate Glublish was a minister in the UCP government…he has some profile. He has more profile than Jordan Walker has."

FORT SASKATCHEWAN-VEGREVILLE

The UCP's Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk won this riding east of Edmonton in 2019 with 53.63 per cent of the vote.

She's back in 2023 against a new NDP opponent in Taneen Rudyk, a Vegreville councillor since 2010.

The NDP won Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville in 2015.

Three other people are running in this riding: Kelly Zeleny with the Advantage Party of Alberta, Granny Margaret Mackay with the Solidarity Movement and Kathy Flett as an independent.

Brennan: "I think in Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville the NDP has a shot."

"[Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk] won it handily with over 7,000 votes in the last election…this time around the NDP is running a very strong candidate."

"The NDP's got high hopes for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville. That being said, that's a lot of votes to flip but I wouldn't discount the NDP having a shot in Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville."

ST. ALBERT AND MORINVILLE-ST. ALBERT

Located north of Edmonton, St. Albert and Morinville-St. Albert went different ways in 2019.

The NDP's Marie Renaud retained her St. Albert seat in 2019 with 46.22 per cent of the vote.

The UCP has a new candidate as Angela Wood, an articling student, will try to put an end to the NDP run in St. Albert and maintain the blue dominance just outside the Alberta capital.

Cameron Jefferies is running for the Green Party.

Morinville-St. Albert voted UCP in 2019 when Dale Nally received 50 per cent of the vote. Nally became Service Alberta and red tape reduction minister in 2022.

He now goes up against former long-time Sturgeon County councillor Karen Shaw.

There are two other candidates in this riding: Kurt Klingbeil with the Green Party and Wayne Rufiange with the Alberta Party.

Brennan: "This could flip. Morinville-St. Albert is an interesting riding."

"[Nally] had some profile. He's going up against Karen Shaw and Karen Shaw has a very high profile in the riding."

"She is going to give Dale Nally a run for the money because she has name recognition and profile in the riding."

"[Renaud] stood the UCP wave in 2019…she should be OK now."

Election Day is on May 29. Follow election results here

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