Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Race to the Premier's Office - 52 Days to the First Ballot

Nation, this blog isn't going to become JUST about the PC Leadership Race over the next few months...  but, it would be stupid and, quite frankly, irresponsible to NOT cover the race which will determine who gets to spend my tax money. That's the nice thing about being a blogger - no Editor telling me what to cover.

There WILL be other topics coming - one in particular on the Democratic Reform proposals recently released by the Alberta Party that is worth looking forward to - but, for now, it's once again "#pcldr Time".

Here's what you might have missed over the past 6 days since the last Leadership Update post...

- The PC's have tweaked some of the rules ahead of their second leadership forum, which takes place tomorrow night in Grande Prairie starting at 7 pm (live streaming on the Alberta PC website). In particular, several of the camps were calling for longer time allowances to flesh out their ideas and vision - adding a minute to their opening statements, doubling the time to answer direct questions and doubling (to 1 minute) the time to rebut. This is thought to benefit Doug Griffiths and Alison Redford in particular, as both had a lot to say at the Vermilion forum and the 30 second rebuttal limit seemed to stymie Alison in particular. The change is considered by some party insiders to be potentially dangerous for perceived frontrunner Gary Mar, whose speaking style in Vermilion seemed focused on the standard 20-second soundbyte (despite his later criticism of the format as not allowing enough time to hold sitting MLA's to account on their records). Stretching those answers out to a minute or longer might throw Mar off his rhythm. Then again, it might not - it's not Gary's first barn dance. I guess we'll all have to tune in to find out.

- Ted Morton has suggested that in order to fund a new arena to host the local hockey heroes, Edmonton might consider a 1% consumption tax. Now, while "those who would use it should pay for it" makes good common sense, it's still worth noting that I got an email a few hours ago from the Ted Morton who ran for the PC Leadership in 2006, appalled that someone using his name and likeness would endorse the idea of creating a new tax.

- The Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal have commissioned a poll by Environics, which sought the opinions of 900 Albertans from across the province on a number of issues. As far as the PC Leadership race goes, the respondents (who were randomly-chosen Albertans, and not necessarily PC Party members or supporters), indicated their support as follows:

Gary Mar 12.1%
Ted Morton 8%
Alison Redford 6%
Rick Orman 4.7%
Doug Horner 4.7%
Doug Griffiths 1.5%

(quick correction for the Herald folks: Dinning led on the first ballot only in 2006; Stelmach led after the 2nd by almost 500 votes over Dinning, and won on the 3rd).

Now we all know what polls are good for (hint: it involves dogs), but Environics is reputable enough to at least have this sort of result steer some of the otherwise uncommitted donor money in interesting directions.

It's worth noting, more than 6 weeks from the first ballot, that a mere 4 weeks before the Calgary Municipal Election, Ric McIver polled a dominant first-place with 43% of decided supporters, compared to 28% for Barb Higgins and just 8% for eventual winner Naheed Nenshi. So, campaigns matter, and 6 weeks is an eternity in politics. Nenshi overcame a 35-point deficit to win. Even polling last, Griffiths would be in first place with a mere 11-point leap. It's still anyone's ball game. Gary's people know this very well - some of them were working for Ric and Barb.

- Lindsay Blackett, MLA for Calgary-North West and Minister of Culture & Community Spirit, has endorsed Doug Horner for PC Leader. Blackett is Horner's first MLA endorsement from Calgary.

- Peter Sandhu, MLA for Edmonton-Manning, has endorsed Ted Morton. So has Rob Anders.

- Doug Griffiths was the subject of a piece that ran in the Globe & Mail this week. Griffiths, a former teacher himself, is said to be garnering attention from teachers in the province as result of his strong pro-education statements in the first Leadership forum.

- Alison Redford is talking about bringing fresh perspectives to the PC Party, as her tour of Alberta continues.

- Gary Mar released an iPhone app this week. I downloaded it (of course). It's good. You can download it from the iTunes Store.

- Rick Orman wishes he wasn't wasting his time doing the Leadership forums.


Jim Campbell said...

I'm in the US Joey so missed the article Quick correction for you, but kudos for being one of the few who remember that Ed won the second ballot. There was no "third ballot" only a count of second choice votes that confirmed Ed's win. Maybe that counts as a third ballot?

Enlightened Savage said...

Jim: Thanks for chiming in from down south - get that debt ceiling thing fixed for them, would ya? ;)

The exact terminology escaped me - I knew we only marked one ballot on that day, but it was preferential. Was there an "automatic run-off" after the first preferences were recorded? A "third round"? "Sudden death"? I don't recall what it was called, but I know the order after they counted the first choice votes on the second ballot was Stelmach-Dinning-Morton. An argument I've been making for years, whenever someone mentions Ed as a "third choice candidate". The man would have won if that second ballot was first-past-the-post, too. On that day, of those 3, he was the FIRST choice.