Elwin Hermanson was born August 22, 1952, in Swift Current. Raised near Beechy, Hermanson attained a three-year diploma from the Full Gospel Bible Institute in Eston. He took over the family grain and beef cattle farm that he continues to operate. Hermanson and his wife Gail have three children. From 1979 to 1994 Hermanson served on the board of the Full Gospel Bible Institute, and was chair from 1987 to 1991. He was also on the Beechy-Demaine Economic Development Committee.
In 1988, Hermanson ran as one of the first Reform Party candidates in Canada. He served three terms on the Reform Party's National Executive Council and was elected as the MP for Kindersley- Lloydminster in 1993. He served as Agriculture critic as well as Reform House Leader from 1993 to 1995. Hermanson lost his federal seat in the 1997 election, but quickly moved into provincial politics. He took leave from his job as the federal Reform Party's national election readiness manager to serve as one of the initial members of the Saskatchewan Party Steering Committee. In 1997, the Saskatchewan Party was given the status of Official Opposition.
Hermanson was elected the first leader of the Saskatchewan Party in 1998. In the 1999 provincial election the Saskatchewan Party captured 26 of 58 seats, receiving more of the popular vote than the governing NDP. Hermanson was elected MLA for Rosetown-Biggar and became leader of the Opposition to the NDP and Liberal coalition. The Saskatchewan Party narrowly lost the 2003 election. The party's inability to win urban seats proved to be its downfall. Although he was re-elected, after two narrow defeats, Hermanson resigned as leader.