09/27/2011 05:36 EDT | Updated 11/27/2011 05:12 EST

Alberta Tory leadership candidate Alison Redford suspends campaign over sick mom

CALGARY - Alberta Tory leadership candidate Alison Redford has taken a break from the campaign to be with her ailing mother.

Redford pulled out of a televised debate Tuesday so she could visit her mother, Helen, who was admitted to hospital with a severe illness in her hometown of High River, Alta.

Within hours, the woman's condition had stabilized and doctors were to transfer her to a Calgary hospital.

"That's a positive sign," said campaign spokesman Stephen Carter.

He said the nature of her illness is private, but her condition is improving and Redford is likely to be back on the campaign trail Wednesday.

He said Redford was even planning to vote at an advance poll in Calgary later Tuesday.

"We do anticipate being able to return to campaigning, but one needs to do it under the right circumstances," Carter said, adding Redford's priority right now is her family.

He said the elder Redford had been feeling fine and was actively following her daughter's campaign. She even hosted a coffee party for voters in her home three weeks ago.

Members of the Progressive Conservative party are to choose a new leader and premier in a run-off vote Saturday.

Redford, a former justice minister, was a distant second to Gary Mar after the first round of voting two weeks ago.

Mar and the third candidate on the ballot, Doug Horner, both sent best wishes to Redford and her family.