Since I'm fairly sure no delegates will be reading blogs much tomorrow, the following opinions are pretty much free of spin since no one reading them has a vote:
1. Today was fun.
I mean, repeating the same chant over and over again and marching in seemingly aimless directions for hours on end doesn't sound like much fun but, man, it was. Compared to 2003 when myself and the other Sheila Copps delegates spent the weekend crying in small corners by ourselves, this was what a convention should be like. I also think the need to work people over on the subsequent ballots has done wonders to bring people together the way one member one vote never could. So I'm definitely glad that delegated conventions will continue.
2. The results
Michael Ignatieff: 1,412 votes, 29.3 per cent (29.3 per cent)
Bob Rae: 977 votes, 20.3 per cent (20.1 per cent)
Stephane Dion: 856 votes, 17.8 per cent (16 per cent)
Gerard Kennedy: 854 votes, 17.7 per cent (17.5 per cent)
Ken Dryden: 238 votes, 4.9 per cent (5.1 per cent)
Scott Brison: 192 votes, 4 per cent (3.9 per cent)
Joe Volpe: 156 votes, 3.2 per cent (4.8 per cent)
Martha Hall Findlay: 130 votes, 2.7 per cent (1 per cent)
3. Lots of talk about the Rae-Volpe ticket in the hospitality suites last night which will probably do Rae more harm than good. There were also a few jokes about Joe providing the pizza for the Bob Rae hospitality suite...
4. Dion appears to have picked off a lot of Iggy ex-officios. I just don't see a scenario where Ignatieff can win this thing now - the real question is how quickly his delegates realize this. If the bleed is quick, that helps Dion and Kennedy more so than a stall which keeps him on the ballot long enough for Rae to beat him at the end.
5. The 2 vote spread between Kennedy and Dion should make rounds 2 and 3 very interesting as they go back and forth for that coveted third spot. We'll see just how much coming out against the Harper nation motion helped Gerard on round 2 since that's when people who were committed to other candidates on round 1 will be able to cross over.
6. That said, it's not completely impossible for both Kennedy and Dion to pass Rae. Hell, we could wind up with all four candidates around 25% by the time you hit round 3. This thing is really unpredictable.
7. Gerard had some bad luck with a lot of Alberta delegates being disqualified on a Rae protest, a dozen being stuck in BC due to plane delays, and one woman fainting while in line to vote.
Dryden will stay on the ballot, Martha will announce who she supports tomorrow morning, and Brison's status is up in the air.
9. As for the speeches, I didn't get to see all of them because of campaign work but I will say that Gerard kicked some serious ass. I had two delegates from other campaigns tell me he hit a "homerun" and his French sounded really good (of course, that might just be because I had to listen to Mark Tewskbury the night before). Gerard reminded people of what it means to be a Liberal and laid out what the party needs to do to return to power. I think Justin Trudeau was a much more effective introduction than the lengthy video montages we saw from some other candidates.
10. Speaking of which, say what you will about him, but Justin Trudeau is a campaigning machine, if nothing else. I don't think there's a single person in Montreal (including the candidates themselves) who has shook more hands or been in more pictures than Justin. He's been a machine this weekend.
11. For interest's sake, the 1996 Ontario Liberal first ballot:
McGuinty 17.6% (14 votes back of third)Hmm...
And it should be noted that McGuinty lost ground and was 34 votes back on the second ballot, before pulling ahead. I could see the same situation repeating itself if Gerard were to get an endorsement from, say, Ken Dryden, after the second ballot.
12. I don't think I'll have time for much blogging tomorrow since I'll be doing campaign stuff but if Kennedy does drop, I'm grabbing my lap top from the hotel and live blogging the rest of the thing.