Griffiths wins fourth term
Doug Griffiths was able to do some relaxing at home with his family last week following a whirlwind campaign and an election in which he was able to hold onto his seat as the PC representative for Battle River - Wainwright.
"My wife and I have been taking the chance to get caught up on things," said Griffiths.
"We've had a busy time of late not only with this campaign but the leadership campaign before it."
Griffiths received 7,205 of the 15,423 votes cast (44 per cent), 495 more than Wildrose Party candidate Dave Nelson, who finished second with 6,710 votes. NDP candidate Terry Zawalski was third with 775, Liberal Party candidate Amber Greenleese fourth with 469 and Alberta Party candidate Midge Lambert fifth with 265.
Griffiths was feeling confident after seeing the first few returns.
"We had a very slight lead to begin with of 70 to eighty votes and projected that once it was over we would finish about 500 ahead," he said.
"Typically the first few polls are pretty reflective of the general consensus."
The win was the fourth in a row for Griffiths, who topped the Battle River - Wainwright polls in a byelection in 2002 and general elections in 2004 and 2008 with 44.6, 65 and 79 per cent of the vote respectively.
"I would say this one was the most satisfying," he said. "It was a close race: people were talking about the different issues, unlike the case four years ago when everyone was discussing the show The Week The Women Went and no one seemed to have any interest in the campaign. There were some very stark differences in this one between the parties, and people were really impassioned about what the future of Alberta would look like."
The one surprise Griffiths had was that the voter turnout was not higher than it was.
"I thought it would be 65 per cent the way people were engaging," he said. "As it turned out it was only seven per cent higher than the last time."
Griffiths said he was ecstatic about the campaign his team ran.
"We were positive and upbeat and we talked about building better communities. We had more volunteers than we ever had for any campaign I ever ran in because I think people understood that this election would be tougher. I couldn't have asked for a better campaign manager and co-campaign manager, or better volunteers."
Griffiths believes there are important lessons that the PCs can learn from this election.
"I told a number of people that anybody who doesn't do an evaluation after an election to see what they can do better and what they can do to improve on the mistakes that were made in the last term is arrogant and takes for granted that they are going to win. I have never done that. I always review what I can do better. I know I heard a few people say they hadn't seen me as much as they did back when I was first elected and I know that. I mean, I spent the majority of last year campaigning for the leadership of the Party so I wasn't around much. Now that we have four solid years, people will see me back around again. No leadership race, no campaign, it will be good."
Griffiths isn't too concerned about the fact that the Wildrose Party was able to take most of the ridings in the southern part of the province. In his view, there are splits that occur in every election.
"I have seen splits where it was Calgary and rural Alberta and Edmonton had virtually no seats," he said. "I have also seen circumstances where it was Edmonton and rural Alberta and Calgary had virtually no seats. We're going to make it very clear to those constituencies in southern Alberta that are predominantly Wildrose that they are not going to get ignored or shut out. We will work for them as we work for any other part of the province, and they will see us lots."
Griffiths said he hasn't received any indication from Premier Redford as to whether or not he will be brought back into the cabinet as Minister of Municipal Affairs or handed some other portfolio, if he is handed one at all.
"There might be a few cabinet ministers moved around to different portfolios with some new people being brought in," he said. "We might not be getting any announcements until next week."