Sunday, December 3, 2006

Premier Stelmach - First Impressions

Haven't heard any of the speeches or anything, if any have been made - just a few impressions that flew through my head as I got word, and a quick look at the numbers.

Ed Stelmach's victory is proof positive that the democratic system of "one member, one vote" can work.

Consider: Stelmach was NOT the first choice of 65% of those who voted on Saturday. And yet, 58% of the ballots counted in the "3rd ballot" had Ed Stelmach on them. In truth, the total was likely much closer to 80%, but we'll never know exactly how many Dinning voters had Stelmach ranked as number 2. The point is: We didn't have a clear cut winner, but we have a consensus, and now we can move forward as a party, with Ed doing his damnedest to heal the deep rifts that this race has caused within the party.

We have NOT heard the last of Ted Morton, not by a longshot. He'll re-surface - but perhaps not with the PC Party, which rejected his view of Alberta overwhelmingly tonight. He could still be a force, though - consider the fact that more Albertans voted for the federal Tories in the last Federal Election than voted in the ENTIRE provincial election, all parties, combined, in 2004. Those extra 500,000 Tories and their votes could sure affect a provincial election that was won by a party boasting less than a half million votes in total, province-wide. It was personally satisfying to me, though, to see Ted finish 3rd. After dismissing Dinning this week as unable to get any more votes than the 30,000 he tallied last Saturday, Morton only drew 14,000 new votes this time, to Dinning's 21,000 new votes and Stelmach's THIRTY-FIVE THOUSAND new votes.

Dinning is done... Jim's going to be offered a position within the party, but he's had the rug pulled out from under him - much of it the doing of himself and his campaign strategists - and is going to lick his wounds outside of the public sphere. This campaign was a shining example of how to lose a job after you've already measured the office for curtains, and will be cited in countless political science courses for generations.

As for Ed Stelmach, Alberta's 13th Premier - I hope he does well. His competition at this point is limited. The biggest liability the Liberals have is their name - under any other name, Kevin Taft might be a legitimate threat. The Alberta Alliance will have a hell of a time winning in either Rural Alberta OR Northern Alberta, with Stelmach as Premier. We'll see what Morton can do with them in a couple years.

I'll review Stelmach's platform later on in the week, along with an analysis of the "best of the losing platforms", and comments on the Stephane Dion victory for the Federal Liberals.

But it's 3:15, and I am going to bed, comfortable with the knowledge that the Gestapo won't be knocking on my door tomorrow morning, demanding to know if I'm harbouring a same-sex couple. :)

- ES

p.s. Best results I've found thus far on Larry Johnsrude's blog.


Anonymous said...

ES: It will be fun to watch the pundits sift through the embers of the leadership campaign, searching for clues.

I'll leave the nuances and shadings to you and Ken Chapman, but the basic story line seems pretty straightforward.

"This campaign was a shining example of how to lose a job after you've already measured the office for curtains, and will be cited in countless political science courses for generations."

Nah, I don't think so. Jim got caught in the ABC/D perfect storm; the third ballot votes were a perfect reflection of this. Fair or not, Jim was tagged as the status quo guy, that being the drift and perceived arrogance of Ralph's final years. Not telling you anything new there.

Jim lost the second ballot, and thus the race, for two reasons:

(1) He so successfully depressed Morton's growth potential on the second ballot that he knocked Morton back to third spot, losing the third ballot votes he hoped to pick up from enough of Ed's people to push him over the top. Strategic error? No. Public service - saving people from those SSM Gestapo you referred to - and it cost him.

(I thought Jim was on track on the second ballot when I saw Larry Johnsrude's 10:37 posting, but had a feeling we were sunk when I saw his 10:40 posting. That was a pretty quick high/low feeling.)

(2) The marketplace that Jim opened up of new voters who wanted to turn back Morton for the most part went to Ed. Why? ABC/D. Too simplistic to lay that at the doorstep of the ABC/D sentiment? The answer is found in this question: What's Ed's "Q quotient"?

Looking forward to checking in regularly as you write. A minor quibble before I go: When you total up Ed's 35,000 new votes on the second ballot, perhaps you could take into account the votes brought to him by the other leadership candidates. They were much more successful at that then I had ever imagined they could be. I hoped people would judge Jim for his person and positions. I vastly underestimated the strength of the ABC/D feeling.

Final thought. Can I be the first to coin "Nostra Nord" as the antonym to "Calgary Mafia"? Time for the party to move on, but perennially unhappy people will need some kind of handy verbal tag to apply when they begin to rail against the suffocating control being exercised over the party and policy by the arrogant establishment cabal of Northern Alberta and Edmonton :)

Enlightened Savage said...

Kevin: I will certainly grant you that Stelmach's results speak toa tremendous amount of support from the fallne leadership candidates... indeed, even if one split the difference between Jim and Ted and assumed that 17,500 new voters came out to vote for Ed who didn't vote the first time around, that would leave 17,500 voters who went with one of the defeated candidates and switched to Ed, a whopping SEVENTY-SIX PERCENT.

A number like that is just mind-boggling - if it's anywhere NEAR accurate, Ed owes some major thanks - and, possibly, cabinet spots - to these former candidates.

- ES