In the 2019 provincial election, Kaycee Madu was the only UCP candidate to win a riding within Edmonton’s borders. But he won Edmonton South West by a narrow margin — defeating the NDP’s John Archer by just 715 votes.
It would be too easy to say that Madu beat Archer in a close, two-horse race. In fact, they weren’t the only candidates running — and the fact that the Alberta Party got 2,668 votes in that riding is something that definitely influenced the Archer-Madu race.
In Edmonton – West Henday, the NDP’s Jon Carson edged out the UCP’s Nicole Williams by just 518 votes; the Alberta Independence Party got 239 votes, the Liberals got 311 and the Alberta Party got 2,337. The two front-runners lost potential votes to parties that really had no hope of winning.
Could similar scenarios play out in hotly contested ridings when the votes are counted on May 29?
The election debate featured just two party leaders. No one is framing this election as anything but Rachel Notley and the NDP vs. Danielle Smith and the UCP. The polls are predicting some razor-thin margins between the parties. And, in a race where some seats could be decided by hundreds of votes or less, the fringe parties come into play.
Sure, we don’t expect to see seats going anywhere but to the orange and blue teams on election day, but that doesn’t mean the parties on the outside of the mainstream aren’t going to have an influence.
“We know that in a two-party race, the minor parties can influence what can happen in an election,” said Feodor Snagovsky, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta.