04/22/2012 04:30 EDT | Updated 06/21/2012 05:12 EDT

The ups and downs, highs and lows of a wild 28-day Alberta election campaign

EDMONTON - A look at the twists and turns of a wild Alberta election campaign:

Day 1, March 26: Alberta Premier Alison Redford drops the writ setting voting day for April 23. The busty bus makes its late night debut. A picture of the Wildrose party bus, originally painted with a smiling Danielle Smith and the dual rear tires falling just below her neckline, is lampooned on Jay Leno.

Day 3, March 28: Redford's comments about the changing character of the province prompt Smith to suggest: "I think Ms. Redford doesn't like Alberta all that much." The calls for improved campaign decorum begin.

Day 4, March 29: Redford declares unconditional surrender on the so-called no-meet committee and transition allowances. She says all PC members of the committee will have to pay all the money back and she suspends the money given to members who leave politics. "I made a mistake on these issues and now I'm fixing them," she says.

Day 5, March 30: Conservative staffer Amanda Wilkie tweets: "If electDanielle likes young and growing families so much, why doesn't she have children of her own? #wrp family pack insincere #abvote."

Day 6, March 31: Smith issues a news release saying she and her husband tried, but couldn't have children. Wilkie resigns. Redford calls Smith to apologize.

Day 8, April 2: The Dani-dollar pledge: The Wildrose party promises to cut a cheque to every man, woman, and child, when energy revenues create a budget surplus. If things go according to plan, Albertans would get a $300 cheque in 2015.

Day 10, April 4: Conscience rights emerge as an issue. Smith won't say where she stands on the controversial issue of allowing public workers to opt out of tasks, such as marrying gay couples or prescribing birth control, because of moral objections. She says her party would set up a court system to handle complaints when they arise.

Day 12, April 6: The provincial funding of abortions enters the discussion. Smith says her party has no plans to legislate on the issue, but refuses to completely rule out Wildrose citizen-initiated referendums that could be used to bring such an initiative forward.

Day 13, April 7: Progressive Conservative candidate and Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk says he was hit by a voter in a doorstep confrontation. The man says he was just trying to direct Lukaszuk off his property. Police are called in.

Day 16, April 10: After being dogged by social issues, Smith tells a candidates forum in her constituency that she is pro-choice and pro-gay marriage.

Day 18, April 12: The provincewide televised leaders debate features the three opposition leaders ganging up on Redford. The premier fends off the attacks while managing to get a few shots in of her own.

Day 20, April 14: Former premier Peter Lougheed speaks out in support of Redford and the Tories.

Day 21, April 15: The Wildrose face questions over an anti-gay blog post by candidate Allan Hunsperger. Last summer, the pastor wrote: "You see, you can live the way you were born, and if you die the way you were born then you will suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire, hell, a place of eternal suffering." He later posts: "I fully support equality for all people, and condemn any intolerance based on sexual orientation or any other personal characteristic." Smith stands by her candidate.

Day 22, April 16: Smith casts doubt on the widely accepted scientific theory that human activity is a leading cause of global warming. "We have always said the science isn't settled," Smith says in an online leaders debate organized by two Alberta newspapers.

Day 23, April 17: Wildrose Calgary candidate Ron Leech apologizes for suggesting he has an advantage in his constituency because he is white. Leech told a radio show earlier in the campaign that, as a Caucasian man, he speaks to the whole community rather than just members of his own ethnic group. Smith stands by her candidate.

Day 24, April 18: The mayors of Calgary and Edmonton pile on Leech and Hunsperger, panning their remarks.

Day 25, April 19: The CBC holds a leaders forum in front of a live audience in Edmonton. Smith is roundly booed and mocked for again questioning climate change science. Liberal Leader Raj Sherman casts the election as a choice between Progressive Conservative "bullies" and Wildrose "bigots."

Day 26, April 20: Faced with slipping poll numbers and simmering controversy, Smith offers her staunchest defence yet of Leech and Hunsperger. "I take it personally when accusations of racism and bigotry are aimed at me and at my party," Smith says.

Election Day, April 23: Progressive Conservatives win majority government, the party's 12th consecutive provincial election victory.