Thank God! A horserace at last for the Alberta Party leadership … probably, anyway

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PHOTOS: What a glorious opportunity to use this photo of Stephen Mandel again! Say what you will about the guy, he’s got style! Below: Rick Fraser, the other former Progressive Conservative known to be running for the leadership of the Alberta Party and, by coincidence, the other credible candidate with any sort of profile as well (Photo: Found in Mr. Fraser’s Facebook account).

As predicted here and elsewhere, former Progressive Conservative and United Conservative Party MLA Rick Fraser, who abandoned the UCP Caucus in late September to sit as an Independent, is about to re-cross the floor of the Legislature to become a member of the Alberta Party.

What’s more, it turns out the MLA for Calgary-South East had already registered to run for the Alberta Party’s leadership.

Meanwhile, there are semi-credible reports that former Edmonton Mayor, PC MLA and cabinet minister Stephen Mandel will step up and throw his hat in the same ring on Wednesday. How do we know this? Well, the seventysomething political veteran ran an upside-down picture on his hitherto dormant Twitter account, and if that’s not a certain sign of serious political intent, I don’t know what the hell is!

Both are credible candidates with reasonably high profiles nowadays, so if this all unfolds as predicted, the Alberta Party can have a real leadership race, maybe generate some enthusiasm, and get down to the task of rebranding itself as the new PC Party.

This was presumably what those mysterious persons unknown had in mind when they encouraged former party leader Greg Clark to walk the plank back in November. At least it will save the party from the embarrassment of calling a leadership race and then having nobody much turn up, as it appeared for a spell just might happen.

Two other candidates have declared their intention to run to lead the Alberta Party, neither of them former PC types: Kara Levis, a Calgary energy industry lawyer and former president of the federal Liberal Party’s national women’s commission, and Jacob Huffman, who was a University of Calgary student when he announced he was running to lead the Alberta Liberal Party last year. And who knows? He may still be.

Edmonton radio host Ryan Jesperson, touted for a few days as the high-profile answer to the all party’s troubles, dropped out of the race before he’d even dropped in. Mr. Clark also declined to waste his time applying for his own job.

The deadline for nominations is next Monday. The winner is scheduled to be announced on Feb. 27.

Categories Alberta Politics