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Two NDP MLAs won't run in the upcoming election

Last Updated Jan 21, 2019 at 6:33 pm MDT


Sandra Jansen and Estefania Cortes-Vargas of the Alberta NDP announce they will not run in the upcoming election

Jansen joined the NDP in 2016 while Cortes-Vargas was named Government Whip in the same year.

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – A pair of MLAs for the governing NDP have announced they will not run in the 2019 Provincial Election.

Minister of Infrastructure and representative for Calgary-North West Sandra Jansen released a statement announcing her intentions not to run for re-election saying it was not an easy decision, but after many years in public life, it is the right choice for her and her family.

Jansen previously said last fall that she would run in the election.

Jansen joined the NDP in 2016 after crossing the floor from the Progressive Conservative Party.

Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt said this announcement is not a surprise.

“It’s been a very tough term for her. What with the floor crossing — which was not a quiet floor crossing, but a very loud floor crossing — and some of the continual battles she’s had with the UCP. I don’t think there’s a single NDP person that the UCP wanted to defeat more than Sandra Jansen.”

Jansen alleged bullying from the Progressive Conservative party when she went to the NDP and faced more abuse — particularly online — since then.

“There’s a reason that when the RCMP was tracking threats against politicians, that Notley was atop the list because she’s Premier, but the second one was Sandra Jansen,” added Bratt.

Moments later Strathcona-Sherwood MLA Estefania Cortes-Vargas announced also announced intentions to drop out of politics for the next election.

Posted by Estefania Cortes-Vargas on Monday, January 21, 2019

In 2016, Cortez-Vargas was named the youngest government caucus whip in Alberta history, is one of the first three openly LGBT MLA’s in the province, and writes they will be pursuing professional development opportunities.

The spring election will be held on or before May 31, and Bratt expects it will be called in March when the government holds the throne speech.

But in the meantime, even though there are now ten incumbent MLA’s not seeking re-election, he does not think this is a major concern.

“I think you’re going to start to see more drop-off as we get closer to the election call,” said Bratt. “This happens, this is not unusually high.”

But in terms of Calgary — where there are now five MLA’s not seeking re-election — Bratt sees some strategic maneuvering.

“I think there’s other indications that the NDP is in trouble in Calgary, such as the moving of its most senior cabinet posts into different ridings that they feel are safer. Joe Ceci into Buffalo, Kathleen Ganley into Mountain View, their new star recruit Anne McGrath into Varsity. I think that’s a better indication of them solidifying the areas of strength that they have in the city as opposed to people not running again.”

Other members not seeking re-election in Calgary are Michael Connolly, Brandy Payne, Stephanie McLean and Jamie Kleinsteuber. Transportation Minister Brian Mason is the only other cabinet minister not seeking re-election at this time.