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Saturday, November 25, 2006

daveberta's thoughts on the Alberta PC leadership race: first-ballot day edition.

I had hoped to get this post out yesterday, but in honour of my sitting in a warm room sipping hot coffee and reading the New York Times online as Tories across the province are out in the cold shuttling their members to the Alberta PC leadership polls, here are my thoughts on the race for the leader of the Alberta PC Party on selection day...

1) The weather outside is frightful. The weather should play a huge role in the turnout. It is cold in Edmonton with a wind-chill and similar weather across Alberta.

2) The weather factor should affect the committed v. Tory-come-lately member voter turnouts across Alberta. As I mentioned before, I believe this will play a substantial role between the candidates and their type of supporters. As I've stated before, I believe Ted Morton's supporters are more committed to show up to the polls than Jim Dinning supporters. That said, Jim Dinning's supporters may simply just overwhelm those of the other candidates due to sheer numbers.

3) Organization or lack thereof. There were some huge problems with the advanced polls this week leaving candidates like Dave Hancock waiting in line for hours. Gary McPherson blamed Alberta PC Party organizers. Others blamed it on candidate Lyle Oberg's busing in hundreds of folks from Edmonton's ethnic communities. There has already been complaints about lack of organization and unethical acts by various leadership camps during today's selection vote.

4) Turnout. Because there are no rules regarding when anyone can by a Alberta PC membership and vote (well, you can just show up and pay $5 to vote at the polling station), it is hard to say how many members will actually show up and vote. Though at the beginning of this race Jim Dinning, Ted Morton, and Mark Norris all declared that they would sell around 100,000 memberships, I'd be surprised if there were more than 80,000 people who showed up to vote on the first ballot.

5) Rural v. Urban. This may play a huge role in who gets their support out. I think it's safe to say that Lyle Oberg, Ed Stelmach, and Ted Morton are drawing a large amount of their support from rural Alberta. Turnout from these supporters will largely depend on road and snow conditions out in the country. Urban voters may have an easier time with shorter distances to travel and municipally plowed roads.

Rural Albertans played a huge role in Ralph Klein's 1992 PC leadership victory over Nancy Betkowski, so it should be interesting to see if after Klein's negative infrastructure cuts to rural communities if rural Albertans are inspired to participate in this internal party leadership selection. Interestingly, Jim Dinning was the Chair of Nancy Betkowski's 1992 PC leadership campaign.

6) What are Alberta PC members looking for in their new leader? If they are looking for the status quo, they will go with the Jim Dinning gang and his 36 MLA caucus support. If they are looking for someone to shake up the way the Tory Government operates, they should probably vote for someone like Ted Morton. If they are looking for someone to lead a completely dysfunctional Tory Government, they should probably vote for someone like Lyle Oberg...

7) To watch... if no candidate takes it on the first ballot it should be interesting to see who drops out and endorses who... only three candidates may make it to the second ballot set for next weekend. Membership sales are allowed to continue between the two ballots.

How bitter will the candidates and their camps be after the first ballot? The ideological so-con v. red tory and establishment v. non-establishment divide in this race has been evident from the beginning and threatens to tear the Tories apart from the inside. Will the Calgary corporate mafia shut out the reform grassroots base? It should be entertaining to watch.

8) My predictions... In placing my predictions, I must say that as mentioned above, it is extremely difficult to predict due to the lack of rules surrounding membership sales, so here is my best shot for predicting the first ballot in the Alberta PC leadership selection...

Jim Dinning - 39%
Ted Morton - 19%
Lyle Oberg - 14%
Mark Norris - 11%
Ed Stelmach - 10%
Dave Hancock - 6%
Gary McPherson - 1%
Victor Doerksen
- 1%

This said, a Jim Dinning win on the first-ballot would not surprise me a bit.


Anonymous said...

I went to vote this afternoon and the polling station was crawling with Jim Dinning organizers in the station. I complained to the riding president, but he is supporting Dinning and brushed me off.

I left without voting. Screw this race.

Anonymous said...

Morton will surprise people. The real battle will be on the second ballot. Who will be left standing?

Ted Morton
Jim Dinning
Lyle Oberg

Anonymous said...

An any-body but Dinning vote would be a richter scale shake up for the Tories. With 36MLA's supporting Dinning, anyone else will have a hard time commanding the support of teh Tory Caucus. Morton has no MLA support. He'd have a revolt on his hands.

Yet, a Dinning victory is a win for complacency and navel gazing in the Tory Party. I don't know which one is better. :-)

Anonymous said...

I voted for Dave Hancock today in Edmonton Strathcona.

The polling station was empty.

Anonymous said...

I just voted for Hancock in Edmonton-MillCreek, no lines but there was a steady flow of people.

Anonymous said...

F&*@in polling stations. I had 5 freakin Dinning supporters constantly hound me. Do you have a membership? Another (after I told another orange observer I already had a membership): if you don't have a membership, we'll buy it for you to vote - we just want everyone to have a say. Yeeeaah right.

This is utter bulls$#. I hope the liberals have better luck at their convention. The libs should maybe reconsider the suggested move from a one member one vote system (or just come up with better plan than the AB PCs, which wouldn't be hard).

My feeling is that Dinning has paid for anyone who wants to vote and would give you a limo ride to the polling station if you agreed to vote for him.

This is pathetic.


calgarygrit said...

When will the results be announced? Is it televised?


Actually this whole race is pathetic. If I was a sixteen year old I would be demanding the right to vote in the next provincial election since I have the right to elect the leader of the Tories and thus the premier of the province. It must set some sort of legal precident.

Alex said...

I voted first thing in the morning then scrutineered for a few hours in Edmonton-Rutherford (a swing riding held by Don Getty until he lost to Percy Wickman, and Liberal ever since except for Ian McLellan in 2001). There was a steady stream of people coming in for the four hours that I was there. I couldn't give you an exact head count, but it seemed to exceed everyone's expectations).

Anonymous said...

Eugene - what the hell are you talking about? A political party can set its own rules for the leadership race. The party that ultimately governs need not replicate its party rules.

" It must set some sort of legal precident."

No, it doesn't.

Chris - this cold weather could really held out Morton - his supporters are pretty hardcore.

Anonymous said...

I was at a rural riding. The Morton supporters braved the terrible weather to vote. Not done the tally yet, but I think we got most of them to come (as well as a few others).

I have no idea on how/when the results will come out.

Anonymous said...

I'm freezing. But, today I joined the PC party of Alberta and felt very weird. (Wierd?) And I voted only because, no matter what anyone says, this province is badly in need of something or somebody MODERATE or middle or boring but NOT extreme like Ted "Satan" Morton or Steve "Sly Liar" Harper. We need somebody who might take Alberta out of the long, dark, greedy, cruel, Klein era.

interlocutor said...

So I realize it's a bit late, since the results are pouring in, but I totally called Stelmach third. I just forgot to post.

Hating the one party state one vote at a time...

daveberta said...

Here's me completely underestimating Ed Stelmach... and to think, only months ago I was predicting he'd be second... weird.