Friday, August 26, 2011

This Week in Alberta: 27,000 Alberta Grits

The membership cut-off in the Alberta Liberal leadership race has passed, with the party registering over 27,000 voters as part of its new primary leadership system. As I've said before, this race makes for a fascinating case-study for the federal Liberals, who will most likely be debating a similar system at their January convention.

The vast majority on the ALP list (85%+) are registered as supporters rather than members, and there are basically two ways of looking at this:

1. If you don't like the primary system, you'd argue the party left $200,000 in fees on the table.
2. If you're a fan, you'll tout that the party now has an extra 20,000+ names they can contact for signs, to volunteer, and to donate money.

The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle - some of the new supporters would have paid their fee and some wouldn't have signed up under the old system. The party had 5500 votes cast during its 2008 leadership campaign - I can't remember how many memberships were sold, but it likely wasn't much over 10,000. Sure, it was a different race with fewer candidates, but it's hard to argue the primary system hasn't opened the party up and led to more supporters.

Daveberta lists the riding-by-riding numbers, commenting that it's largely an urban affair. True enough, but the ALP still has over 100 names in virtually every riding in the province. Take a riding like Bonnyville for example - 3 members and 98 supporters. Yeah, 100 Liberals isn't great, but the party has gone from being completely non-existent to at least having a base they can work with. Even if they turn 9 of those 98 supporters into active volunteers, that's a step in the right direction.

Of course, whether or not these new supporters actually vote won't be known until the winner is crowned on September 10th. For those among the 27,000 still wanting to know more about the contenders, I'll be finishing off my candidate profile series on Monday (MacDonald), Wednesday (Blakeman), and Friday (Harvey) next week.

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  • The Alberta Liberal Party had 6500 members in 2008.

    By Anonymous Numbers Guy, at 12:34 PM  

  • Also, the Alberta Liberal Party membership fee is $5, not $10.

    By Anonymous Dollars Guy, at 12:35 PM  

  • Riding by riding numbers on Daveberta were officially announced by the ALP. A level of open I don't remember seeing in the past.

    By Anonymous Figures Guy, at 12:37 PM  

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