Super Weekend Thoughts
As for my initial reactions based on the numbers as they sit this afternoon…
1. On The Race: The take home message from this weekend is that this is now a four man race. Ignatieff will be on the final ballot and it’s now just a question of whether he will be against Rae, Kennedy, or Dion. Given how close those three candidates are, the key for them all will be to get their supporters to Montreal and to work hard on the Brison, Dryden, Volpe, and Findlay delegates. I honestly have no clue which of the four frontrunners will win this thing and the performance of the candidates over the next two months and at the convention may very well decide that.
2. On the bottom four: To be honest, Brison and Dryden deserved better than what they got. Scott can at least be proud that he won his own province but this has to be a very disappointing result for two politicians who are strong enough candidates that they could have been contenders in this race. Martha Hall Findlay shouldn’t be discouraged in these results and hopefully she’ll stay in the race and get her delegates to Montreal. Martha has a well written message to her supporters on her website which sums things up nicely.
As for Volpe…what can be said that hasn’t already been said?
3. On Ignatieff: The Ignatieff campaign should be very proud of their performance this weekend – 30% in an eight person race is no small feat. However, that still means that Ignatieff will need to get close to 40% of the delegates who are released as their candidate drops out if he hopes to beat Kennedy, Rae, or Dion on the final ballot. Ignatieff needs to show that he’s learned enough over his first year in politics that he can win an election and he needs to ease fears that he’s out of line with the Liberal Party on foreign policy and the constitution question.
4. On Rae: The one drawback to all the Bob Rae hype we’ve seen in the past few months is that it may have raised expectations to unreasonably high levels. While some will try to spin Rae’s results as a negative, I can’t see this as anything but a positive for the Rae campaign. The challenge for the next two months will be to deal with the reality of a four person race since the media spin of a Rae/Ignatieff duel certainly helped his campaign immensely.
5. On Kennedy: The bottom line is that the media won’t be able to overlook Gerard as they have been doing, and that alone makes him the big winner from this weekend. Given that he was one of the last candidates to start organizing and had no national profile before this campaign started, the results are truly quite amazing. Quebec was a disaster, there’s no denying that, and the Kennedy campaign will have to focus on eliminating the false perception that he can’t win there over the coming weeks.
6. On Dion: Dion did better than I expected him to but worse than most in the media predicted. Despite a fourth place finish, he’s certainly still a contender as has as good a chance as anyone else to win this thing. I think the main challenge ahead for him will be the fact that he’s run on what amounts to an environmental platform. If Project Green gets good reviews, the Liberals lose the environment as an issue and last week’s AG’s report certainly shows his track record as Minister of the Environment is somewhat polluted.
7. On The Stupidest Argument I’ve Heard Today: Courtesy of Jeffrey Simpson:
“Mr. Dion has enough support in both Ontario and Quebec to remain credible. To put matters upside down: He didn’t win either province but he didn’t bomb, as did Mr. Rae in Ontario and Mr. Kennedy in Quebec.”
Ontario Results: Bob Rae 17% Stephane Dion 10.3%
8. On Alberta: Having worked on nothing but losing campaigns before, I must say I was very pleased to see the Alberta numbers roll in: