Preliminary election results indicate Conservative Blake Richards dropped 15 per cent in popularity but was still easily re-elected as the Member of Parliament for the Banff-Airdrie constituency.

Richards took 56 per cent of the votes, down from the 71 per cent in 2019.

“I have been blessed to represent our communities as your Member of Parliament since 2008, and tonight I have once again been honoured with the opportunity to continue to fight for you in Ottawa," says Richards in a written statement. "I am humbled to continue to stand up for our communities and to represent you and your family as your voice in Ottawa."

He says it's a role he doesn't take lightly.

"I promise that I will continue to work relentlessly for our communities. I will not let you down. Although Canadians have once again chosen the Liberals as their government, I can assure you that Canada’s Conservatives will continue to fight relentlessly in Parliament and stand up for all Canadians.”

There were a large number of independents and smaller parties in the running but it was the New Democrats and Liberals who placed a distant second and third, both with gains. Neither reached above the 20 per cent mark.

People's Party of Canada (PPC) candidate Nadine Wellwood finished fourth and made some headway in her second bid for the seat by more than doubling her vote, but still fell far short. 

The big splash independent Derek Sloan made when launching his campaign here in Cochrane didn't result in that many votes. The disgruntled former Conservative came from Ontario to face Richards and finished with a dismal 2.4 per cent of the vote.

The Green Party, Maverick Party, and two other independents also had little traction with voters.

This is the fifth election win by Richards. He was party whip for the Conservatives when Parliament was dissolved for the election. 

In the Foothills riding that includes Bragg Creek, Conservative John Barlow was handily re-elected with 70 per cent of the vote. He had 82 per cent last time around.

A handful of polling stations were left to report for both ridings at this writing and the official results will be released in the coming days.