The name of the provincial representatives in Prince Albert won’t be known for another few days — though one of them is likely to be Joe Hargrave.
This year’s election saw a record number of mail-in votes, with 935 mail-in vote applications in Prince Albert Carlton and 568 in Prince Albert Northcote.
Both ridings, after ballots were counted, were a smaller margin than the number of mail-in votes sent out.
That means that neither riding can be statistically declared until those mail-in votes are counted.
Monday’s preliminary count consisted of votes cast in-person, in advance polls and in special polls. Mail-in votes, though, won’t begin to be counted until Wednesday. Even then, any mail-in ballots postmarked by Oct. 26 but received after the fact won’t be included in that second preliminary count.
Instead, they’ll be counted for the final tabulation, which isn’t released until Nov. 7.
As of Press time, in Prince Albert Carlton, incumbent Joe Hargrave was leading NDP challenger Troy Parenteau by 759 votes, with 45 of 51 polls reporting. However, there were 935 vote-by-mail applications not accounted for.
Some vote-by-mail applicants could have voted in person, but without that final tally, the result remains unknown.
“I go like this,” Hargrave said as he crossed his fingers.
“I don’t think the advanced polls are in yet, and of course, there’s … mail-in ballots. I’m very pleased that I’m in the lead right now and I hope that trend continues, but don’t’ count your chickens before they hatch.”
Hargrave said his team worked hard, knocking on doors, listening to people, talking to people about their wants.
“For the most part, they’re going ‘we need you back in there, we need you back in there,” Hargrave said.
“They’re talking about the party, but they’re also talking about Joe Hargrave and that feels really good.”
NDP candidate Troy Parenteau was not available for comment.
The other Prince Albert race is even tighter. NDP incumbent Nicole Rancourt was trailing Saskatchewan Party challenger Alanna Ross by just 183 votes as of press time, with 568 mail-in ballots outstanding.
“We knew the race was going to be tight going in,” Ross said Monday night as results trickled in.
“It is an NDP stronghold, and it remains that way. We are still staying positive, so it was a good race. Both parties worked very hard. I guess we’ll wait and see. It might be next week before we know the results.”
Rancourt was also cautiously optimistic.
“It’s pretty hard to tell right now, but I’ve been happy with the results that I’ve seen so far. It’s been really exciting to see the numbers come in.”
Winning both Prince Albert seats would be a major coup for the Saskatchewan Party, as the NDP aggressively targeted the region throughout, and before, the campaign.
The other targeted ridings in the area were Saskatchewan Rivers and Batoche, both held by longtime Saskatchewan Party incumbents seeking to return for another term.
In 2016, Nadine Wilson won Saskatchewan Rivers by 66.9 per cent. As of press time, she had earned 67 per cent of the vote.
That riding, though, was one of 17 targeted by the fledgling Buffalo Party. Candidate Fred Lackie was in fourth place as of press time, trailing the Saskatchewan Party, NDP and Progressive Conservatives, but earning 100 more votes than the Green Party.
Batoche was another story. Delbert Kirsch won in 2016 with 65 per cent of the vote. This time around, he was up against former Saskatchewan Rivers NDP MLA Lon Borgerson, who has a history of winning in rural ridings.
Borgerson earned about 27 per cent of the votes, but it wasn’t enough to topple Kirsch, who easily earned another victory in the Batoche riding.
Melfort, Carrot River return Sask. Party MLAs
It was a Saskatchewan Party sweep in ridings northeast of Prince Albert as incumbents Todd Goudy and Fred Bradshaw were returned to the legislature on Election Day (Monday, Oct. 26).
In the Carrot River Valley constituency, Fred Bradshaw of the Saskatchewan Party won for the straight election. Bradshaw had 2,208 votes with 42 of 52 ballot boxes reporting.
Rod McCorriston of the NDP finished second with 502 votes, Glen Leson of the PC Party was third with 145 and Liam Becker of the Saskatchewan Green Party finished third with 43 votes.
Todd Goudy won his first official election as Saskatchewan Party candidate in Melfort. Goudy was elected in a by-election in March, 2019 to replace the late Kevin Phillips.
Goudy placed first, earning 3,012 votes with 44 of 50 ballot boxes reporting.
Lorne Schroeder of the NDP was second with 638 votes, Dave Waldner of the Buffalo Party was third with 233 votes and Matthew Diakuw of the Green Party was fourth with 66 votes.
Candidates react to provincial results
While the picture in their electoral district was unclear, Prince Albert’s provincial candidates had mixed reactions to the news that the Saskatchewan Party was going to come away with another majority government.
“I’m very pleased that we’ve been given that privilege to form government again. I think Premier Moe’s thought about who do you trust to lead us through this pandemic … resonated with people. I believe strongly that’s the case,” Hargrave said.
“We’re in a good position. We’ve got the best premier, and we’ll be in a good position to lead (the province) through the rest of this pandemic, and bring us out and keep our economy strong.”
Ross said the Sask. Party win was “amazing.
“It’s amazing for the province and the people of the province,” she said.
“Premier Scott Moe and the Saskatchewan Party have such a good plan to make our province strong. We can only benefit by this win.”
Rancourt was disappointed at the strong Saskatchewan Party victory.
“It’s disappointing obviously,” she said.
“We were really hoping to be able to form government so that we could implement a lot of the promises that we were talking about to the people of Saskatchewan with regards to investment into families. But, we also do respect the voters and their decisions and will do our best to hold the government accountable and ensure that the decision they’re making are being accounted for.”
- with files from Jason Kerr, Peter Lozinski, Kelly Skjerven and Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative reporter