Scott Moe wins leadership race, will become premier

Scott Moe gives his victory speech after being voted as the new leader of the Saskatchewan Party and, by extension, Saskatchewan's premier, at the Sask. Party Leadership Convention in Saskatoon on Jan. 27, 2017. -- Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald

By Peter Lozinski, Prince Albert Daily Herald

Shellbrook-based MLA earns late round support, emerges victorious to replace Brad Wall

It was a close race to the finish, but Shellbrook-Rosthern MLA Scott Moe is the new Premier of Saskatchewan and leader of the Saskatchewan Party.

It took all five rounds to reach a final candidate, as first round voting results showed Scott Moe and Alanna Koch each with just over 25 per cent of the vote count. Ken Cheveldayoff was only slightly behind, and Gord Wyant received over 20 per cent of the popular vote.

After the final round voting, Moe had 8,075 votes, or 53 per cent.

The voter turnout was 63 per cent, with 17,159 ballots cast.

A candidate has to receive at least 50 per cent of the vote to win the leadership. Voters ranked their candidates in order of favourite to least favourite. As candidates were eliminated, Sask. Party members who voted for them had their votes redistributed according to their ranked preferences.

Tina Beaudry-Mellor and Rob Clarke only received a small portion of the votes on the first ballot, and so they were eliminated, which didn’t have much of an effect on who was leading.

But when Wyant was eliminated, several of his voters’ support went to Moe, who then jumped ahead of Koch.

She led after the first two rounds of voting, but she was unable to close the gap after the majority of voters for both Wyant and Cheveldayoff ranked Moe higher than her, resulting in Moe’s victory.

Moe’s supporters erupted following the announcement. Prince Albert Carlton MLA Joe Hargrave was right in the throes of it, hugging fellow supporters and celebrating with Moe.

After the convention, Hargrave said he wasn’t at all surprised by Moe’s victory.

With his win, Moe is the first premier in the province whose riding is north of Saskatoon. The Rosthern-Shellbrook riding is located west of Prince Albert.

Previously, the northern-most riding a premier had represented was in Saskatoon. James Anderson represented the riding of Saskatoon City #1 as premier from 1929 to 1934.

More recently, former premiers Roy Romanow and Lorne Calvert represented Saskatoon Riversdale.

For more on this story, including reaction from other candidates and local reaction, please see Tuesday’s print edition or e-edition of the Daily Herald.

With files from Evan Radford