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John Barlow wins Tory nomination in Macleod

OKOTOKS, Alta. - A newspaper editor from Okotoks, Alta. came out on top in a hotly contested battle for the Conservative nomination in Macleod, a sprawling rural riding south of Calgary.

John Barlow, 42, hugged his wife Louise late Saturday night when the results were released.

Barlow, who finished a close second to Wildrose leader Danielle Smith in Alberta's last provincial election, called on the other three candidates to work together in the upcoming Macleod byelection.

"Thank you very much for an amazing campaign. I know everyone worked extremely hard and everybody here should be very proud," said Barlow.

"I hope from this point forward we can still work together and be part of what could be a very formidable team here in Macleod to continue to make sure Macleod remains deep conservative blue."

Nearly 1,500 people voted in the nomination process including, 1,200 on Saturday. Barlow said that shows people are invested in the political process.

"The message we had from the beginning was to try and get people engaged again and try and get people involved in our political system. We saw that transpire over the past few months."

The yet-to-be called byelection became necessary when Ted Menzies, former minister of state for finance, stepped down in November.

The key issue in the nomination battle was gun rights and the seizure of firearms by the RCMP from evacuated homes in High River during Alberta's floods last June.

The RCMP took the weapons and stored them as officers searched homes in the town's flood zone for stranded people, pets and anything that might pose a threat to safety.

The move was criticized by the Prime Minister's Office.

Barlow was the only candidate who said he was content to wait for the Public Complaints Commission to finish a report on the gun seizure while the other three candidates favoured an independent inquiry to seek answers right away.

Barlow was the only one not to get the endorsement of the National Firearms Association.

Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter.

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