Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Peter Guthrie took to social media last night to congratulate Danielle Smith on her victory in the United Conservative Party's (UCP) leadership race.
While she held a lead throughout the night, Smith won the vote on the final ballot to secure her new title as UCP leader and Alberta premier.
On his Facebook page, Guthrie congratulated Smith on becoming Alberta's 19th premier. Guthrie had endorsed the former Wildrose Party leader early into her leadership campaign.
"Thank you to all the contestants who worked tirelessly to unite this party and expand the conservative movement," Guthrie wrote. "It’s not easy to put yourself out there so I certainly respect each of these individuals for their commitment to our party and all Albertans."
Smith grabbed the lead early, with 41.3 per cent of the vote after the first round, but it took until the sixth ballot for Alberta's next premier to get to the elusive 50 per cent threshold to win the contest. She ultimately captured the top spot with 53.77 per cent of the vote to edge former cabinet minister Travis Toews. Brian Jean, who was eliminated on the previous ballot, finished third in the race.
"We have an incredible team of members and MLAs and, with a renewed sense of unity, we have chosen a leader who is firm in their convictions and isn’t afraid to stand by them," Guthrie said. "We have chosen a leader who will put Alberta First."
—With files from Lauryn Heintz/Okotoks Western Wheel