Thursday, July 06, 2006

Interesting Liberal Leadership News

I read a post earlier concerning Kennedy's membership numbers. This article paints a rosy picture for Kennedy:
Former Ontario education minister Gerard Kennedy's campaign to lead the federal Liberals is boasting the top spot in Alberta and British Columbia at the end of the party's membership drive.

A source in Kennedy's office said they've been told they won the two western provinces - in addition to Prince Edward Island - with the race's widely perceived front-runner Michael Ignatieff finishing second.

Numbers for Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and most of the Atlantic provinces were more vague, but the unnamed official said Kennedy was reported to have come in Ontario's top four.

I think it quite a coup for Kennedy to lead out west, given his limited name recognition and lack of federal party support. Coupled with a good showing in his home province, Kennedy looks to be more than just a "darkhorse" at present.

Equally interesting, Volpe's claims of high sign-ups appear to have some weight:
On the last day of the recruitment drive, Mr. Volpe's campaign plunked down 4,400 forms for new Quebec members, he said -- a big proportion of the roughly 12,000 new members recruited by all campaigns in the province.

One party official called Mr. Volpe's numbers in Quebec "stunning," and organizers from other camps agreed that he had topped the recruitment drive in that province, where the campaign had previously been seen as a race in which only Mr. Ignatieff, Mr. Dion, and Mr. Rae had any sizable support.

This is bad news for anyone who hoped Volpe would be a marginal player at the convention, but it does change the dynamics considerably. If Volpe has been successful in Quebec, he effectively hurts the other three candidates mentioned, which inadvertently works to Kennedy's advantage. Siphoning off delegates will keep the race quite tight and may really hurt Dion in particular. The drive to be the anti-Ignatieff gets more interesting if Volpe is relevant.

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