Friday, 24 March 2017

Who Would Give up Their Seat for Jason Kenney?

Will Jason Kenney remain unemployed as PC leader, or will he be fortuitous enough to discover a suddenly vacated riding to run in?  At this moment, we have no vacant ridings in Alberta so if he wants a seat, someone will have to give it up for him.  While there is obviously strong support for Kenney from the Wildrose Camp, I expect it would have far better optics to see a PC MLA to step down.

Global News Photos
The list of current PC MLAs is conveniently short: Wayne Drysdale, Mike Ellis, Prab Gill, Rick Fraser, Ric McIver, Richard Starke, Dave Rodney and Richard Gotfried.  Since Wayne Drysdale and Richard Starke are MLAs outside of Calgary, I highly doubt it will be one of them so we can reduce the possible candidates to six.  Prab Gill was the last MLA elected and he replaced the dearly departed Manmeet Bhullar.  I'm going to remove him as well but not because he was the last one elected; I'll come back to that.  Now we have five.

Ric McIver, as interim leader, had not publicly backed a candidate but he did tweet out a picture of himself and former PC member and Kenney advisor, Alan Hallman, watching the Medicine Hat leadership debate together. The assumption is that he favours Kenney.  Rick Fraser hasn't declared who has his support for the leadership but he has been very quiet both in and out of the legislature.   Dave Rodney, Richard Gotfried, and Mike Ellis have all publicly endorsed Jason Kenney.

Dave Rodney, Calgary-Lougheed was first elected in 2004 and is one of the two longest-serving MLAs in the PC Party right now.  Rick Fraser,Calgary-Southeast, and Ric McIver, Calgary Hays, were both elected in 2012. Mike Ellis, Calgary-West, was elected in 2014 and Richard Gotfried, Calgary Fish Creek, was elected in 2015.  In my opinion, any one of these MLAs would give up their seat for Jason Kenney but in this case, favourability lies in the numbers.

If you paid attention to the number of votes in 2015 (or since), you would notice that pretty much everyone in urban centres had a tight race.  Without bogging this down further, the following MLA's won their ridings by the following number of votes: Gotfried, 129, Fraser 305, Gill, 313, Rodney, 502, McIver 1,533 and Ellis 3,372.

The main reason I discount Gill is because they just had a by-election in Calgary-Greenway in 2016 and the turnout was a dismal 28%.  Gill ended up with 2,292 votes to WRP's 1979, Liberal's 1,849 and the NDP's 1,699.  Say what you will about coming in fourth place but a margin of 593 votes between the first and fourth place candidate is not a cushion I think Kenney would be comfortable with.  Now I don't honestly believe that Kenney is actually using a 1+1=2 formula to figure out where he has the best chance of winning because that's not statistically viable and he, or someone he pays, knows that.

Based on the numbers, Ellis had the strongest margin of support of any of the current MLAs.  He was also the first sitting MLA to endorse Kenney on September 16, 2016.  Most interestingly, Ellis mentioned in his endorsement that Kenney "has always been a leader in our community" (emphasis mine).

Even though Gotfried is the only PC MLA within Kenney's old federal riding of Calgary-Midnapore, Gotfried won by the least amount. That seat had previously belonged to Heather Forsyth, the former PC who crossed over to Wildrose in 2010.  She barely won her seat in 2012 with 38 more votes than the PC candidate.  It's a risk I wouldn't see Kenney taking.

My number one pick, therefore, between the current PC MLA's who would be most likely to give up his seat for Jason Kenney is Mike Ellis.

Note: I've heard through the grapevine that Kenney will not be vying for a seat until 2019.  My thought on that is either he doesn't trust his ability to win until there's a united conservative party for him to run under or he's going to take advantage of being "unemployed" while campaigning for the united party.  Or maybe it's both.

No comments:

Post a Comment