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United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney reacts to winning the Calgary Lougheed by-election in Calgary, on Dec. 14, 2017.Todd Korol/The Globe and Mail

Former federal Conservative cabinet minister Jason Kenney has won a seat in the Alberta legislature.

The leader of the United Conservative Party is the victor of a by-election in Calgary Lougheed, easily beating out six other candidates, including provincial Liberal Leader David Khan.

Unofficial results from Elections Alberta say Kenney won 71 per cent of the vote. The NDP came in second with just over 16 per cent. The Liberals came in third with about nine per cent.

Premier Rachel Notely was quick to congratulate Kenney on his victory.

"Congratulations and welcome to the AB Legislature," she said in a post on Twitter. "I look forward to debating you in the House."

Kenney was the driving force behind the merger of Alberta's two centre-right parties, the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose.

The win Thursday means he can go head to head with Notley in the legislature before the 2019 provincial election.

The by-election was called after Dave Rodney, a member of the United Conservatives, stepped aside to make room for a run by Kenney.

During the campaign Kenney said he received a positive reception going door to door.

Other candidates in the race included the NDP's Phillip van der Merwe and new Green Party Leader Romy Tittel.

Rounding out the slate are Wayne Leslie of the Alberta Advantage Political Party Association, Lauren Thorsteinson from the Reform Party of Alberta and independent Larry Heather.

Khan, who was also looking for his first seat in the legislature, said he was the only real alternative to the United Conservatives and NDP.

Van der Merwe said he didn't feel any extra pressure because the New Democrats are in government. He said he received plenty of support from motivated volunteers and legislature members who have helped him campaign.

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