Dan Backs, the Independent MLA from Edmonton Manning who was kicked out of the Alberta Liberal caucus last November is seeking the Tory nomination in that riding. Backs will be running against former PC MLA Tony Vandermeer for the nomination (Backs narrowly defeated Vandermeer in 2004).
MacEwan College Political Science Professor Chaldeans Mensah described the situation perfectly:
Chaldeans Mensah, who teaches political science at MacEwan College, said Backs is "a bit opportunistic" since his prospects of re-election are slim as an independent.The Alberta Liberals will soon nominate Edmonton Lawyer Sandeep Dhir in Edmonton Manning. I was actually quite excited when I heard Sandeep was running as I know he will be a great candidate and MLA. His community experience includes serving as President of the Edmonton Inner City Housing Society, and involvement with the Theatre Network Society and the Law Society of Alberta.
Rumour has it that Ward 3 City Councillor Janice Melnychuk is considering carrying the New Democrat flag. But more recent rumours suggest Melnychuk is having second thoughts about jumping to the provincial scene to attempt to join the four-man New Democrat caucus. Melnychuk would be a strong candidate, but I wouldn't blame her for wanting to stick to City Council.
The area covered by Edmonton Manning has been represented by three parties over the past 21 years. As Edmonton Belmont it elected NDP MLA Tom Sigurdson (1986-1993). Since being created in 1993, Edmonton Manning has elected one Tory MLA - Tony Vandermeer (2001-2004) - and three Liberal MLA's - Peter Sekulic (1993-1997), Ed Gibbons (1997-2001), and the breifly Liberal Dan Backs (2004-2006). Regardless, Edmonton Manning will be a hard fought race as it will likely be hotly contested by all three parites.
On another note, it's been rumoured that Alberta Alliance leader Paul Hinman is trying to negotiate his way into the PC caucus...