02/06/2015 05:05 EST | Updated 04/08/2015 05:59 EDT

Former spokesman for Alberta taxpayer group acclaimed Wildrose nominee

CALGARY - A former spokesman for an Alberta taxpayer lobby group has been acclaimed as a candidate for the Wildrose party in the next election.

Derek Fildebrandt, who used to speak for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, will represent the Wildrose in the constituency of Strathmore-Brooks.

The riding's current MLA, Jason Hale, crossed the floor in December to join the Progressive Conservative government.

Fildebrandt says about half the riding's Wildrose supporters had walked away from the party when he launched his campaign, because they felt betrayed.

But he says 98 per cent of them have returned and new members have signed up.

Fildebrandt says the party’s biggest job in the next election — widely speculated to come this spring — will be to persuade voters they can still trust the Wildrose.