The future is uncertain for the runner up in the Saskatchewan Party leadership race, after Alanna Koch narrowly lost the contest to Scott Moe. Now, Koch is leaving her job as deputy minister to the premier.

“We will be discussing her options as we move forward in the next number of weeks,” Premier Scott Moe said following his swearing in on Friday.

Koch had been on leave from her job as deputy minister to the premier. She had spent a year and a half sitting next to Brad Wall at the cabinet table, advising him on all matters. Before that, she was deputy minister of agriculture. Elected leadership rivals have all been rewarded with cabinet positions, but Koch is not an MLA.

“I would think it would be difficult to go back into the same position that you had for a different premier. Especially given the kinds of concerns that were raised during the campaign about executive council itself, and if and whether it was working somewhat behind the scenes for Koch,” said Tom McIntosh, a political analyst with the University of Regina.

Koch seemed to have the best grasp on issues raised at the Weyburn leadership debate, prompting Scott Moe and others to publically raise suspicion that she had been slipped the questions in advance. She was later cleared by the party. 

“So while, yes, you reward your rivals often with cabinet posts and things like that, there are some things that you want your own people in. And I would think deputy minister would be one of them,” McIntosh said.

Following her leadership loss, Koch said she would remain active in the party, but it’s too soon for her to say what’s next.