Desjarlais from NDP leads the shut battle between Edmonton and Griesbach in entrance of the conservative Diotte

Edmonton

New Democratic candidate Blake Desjarlais is narrowly ahead of incumbent Kerry Diotte in Edmonton-Griesbach on Monday night’s first count, but the race remains too short to call it, according to CTV News predictions.

With 231 of 232 polls early Tuesday morning, Desjarlais led the way with just over 1,000 votes.

The Canadian press announced the race for Desjarlais for Monday evening.

Desjarlais declined to speak to the media on Tuesday morning, but later that day posted on Twitter thanking his campaign team and saying he was “deeply honored by the trust that Edmonton Griesbach voters have shown me” .

Diotte declined to comment on CTV News on Tuesday morning.

Liberal candidate Habiba Mohamud comes in third, followed by Thomas Matty from Canada.

The final number of votes will be determined later Tuesday or early Wednesday as Elections Canada has 1,746 absentee votes remaining.

Diotte won the riding when it was won for the first time in 2015 and then again in 2019 when it received more than 51 percent of the vote.

The former Edmonton councilor and newspaper columnist was the Tories’ associate critic for government revenue and public procurement.

Desjarlais, 27, attempted to reverse a trend that resulted in a drop in votes for the NDP in the last two elections: from 34 percent of the vote in 2015 to 25 percent in 2019.

If elected, he would become Alberta’s only indigenous MP and is also considered Canada’s first openly two-minded MP.

A Desjarlais victory would be the result of a targeted effort by the party, says Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt.

“Greisbach has never been in the game,” he said. “It was a combination of recruiting a strong NDP candidate with the full collaboration of both the federal and provincial NDPs, and they don’t get along very often.”

Federal party leader Jagmeet Singh visited the horse riding twice during the election campaign and a number of NDP officials from the province, including opposition leader and former Prime Minister Rachel Notely, also campaigned there.

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