Sunday, April 19, 2009

You May Now Be Seated - The Tory Race to Replace Tory

Friday was the deadline to enter the Ontario PC leadership race and, even though the contest has been somewhat wired for Tim Hudak, a field of four MPPs has emerged - Hudak (the frontrunner), Randy Hillier (think right...then walk a few more steps right), Christine Elliott (Jim Flaherty's wife), and Frank Klees (Jaine Klees' husband).

I'll be back at some point during the race with website reviews but for now, here's what's making news so far:

-Stephen Taylor has interviews with Christine Elliott and Tim Hudak.

-Taylor also reports that Randy Hillier has proposed dropping the "P" from PC. I haven't seen a public confirmation anywhere, but Hillier's "A Conservative Leader for a Conservative Party" slogan would certainly imply that.

-Hudak has the early lead on the endorsement front, with 12 MPPs backing him, compared to 2 for Elliott and Klees, and none for Hillier.

-Of note, Rob Nicholson and John Baird have gone against their Cabinet colleague Flaherty, and are supporting Hudak.

-In the "media buzz" department, things are surprisingly close - Hudak has been in 301 google news stories, Hillier 288, Elliott 277, and Klees 269.

-Looking at "blog buzz", Hudak (155) tops Hillier (141), Elliott (128), and Klees (91).

-Looking at their websites' Alexa rank over the past month, Hillier (1.6 million) and Hudak (2.1 million) have the top sites, with Elliott (4.0 million) and Klees (7.5 million) further back.

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  • The Elliot/Flaherty connection seems like it would be very difficult to work with in the ordinary conduct of government. It would seriously hinder each government's ability to criticize the other when it might be politically necessary.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 11:16 p.m.  

  • Ultimately this will be a Hudak/Klees race. The Elliot/Flaherty connection makes PCs nervous and Hillier is too conservative.

    IMHO, Hudak probably wins even though Klees would be stronger in a general election.

    Whoever is the leader will lose the next election too and is keeping the seat warm for one of the Ontario federal MPs that will be willing to jump into a leadership race after Harper falls out of power sometime in the next few years or less (yeh, I know major prognostication.)

    By Anonymous Rob C, at 12:15 a.m.  

  • Not so sure about Dalton's invincibility in the next election. Tim Hudak not only represents a credible alternative to McGuinty's leadership, but he also enjoys the support of half the caucus, which will be crucial in uniting the right before 2011.

    By Anonymous CanadianConservative, at 10:15 a.m.  

  • Alexa rankings are a good wank, but they aren't worth a shit. They only tabulate internet users who surf with the Alexa toolbar.

    Do I use the Alexa toolbar ? No.

    Do you ?

    By Anonymous No Name, at 10:55 a.m.  

  • No name - true enough. It's not be end-all of rankings, but they're as good as anything else I've seen to judge website traffic.

    CC - I'd agree the PCs have a chance next election against McGuinty.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:31 a.m.  

  • Since my own alexa rank is about 1.5 million on 600 visits a day, none of this bunch is really tearing up the track.

    By Blogger bigcitylib, at 2:17 p.m.  

  • I think the big question is whether Hillier has the organizational muscle to play kingmaker. Even in OMOV, if things go to a runoff, endorsements (or candidates dropping out before the race) can make a difference. The chance of that happening gets even bigger with Klees in the race (he won't win, but he will reduce the chance of a first-round victory for Hudak).

    Christine Elliot benefits from a clusterf*** because Hudak is the front-runner and likeliest to win on the first round. Moreover, it is my sense that Elliot is the more conservative candidate, based mostly on who her husband is (but also on who Baird is backing - Baird is a fierce partisan but not an ideologue). She may have a greater ability to negotiate with Hillier and Klees.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 10:41 p.m.  

  • I just took a look at the websites. Tim Hudak reminds me of Bobby Jindal in his tone of voice (the Mr. Rogers problem). His website also looks kind of web 1.0, and the pop-up video is just plain annoying.

    Frank Klees also has a video, featuring him walking down a road talking into the camera with his wife. I think his wife really dropped the ball there. She isn't really a telegenic tv wife (she looks like she might have been hot 40 years ago, but aged badly). Her eyes move very visibly up and to the left as she speaks, also not a good sign.

    Christine Elliott's site is pretty standard fare. Her speech is solid (she speaks very slowly and forcefully, but doesn't stumble), though I am not sure what the deal is with the pictures behind her. Jim Flaherty cheapened some of his past campaigns with lame props - I would think Elliott's advisers would avoid that route.

    Randy Hillier's site impressed me. It was pretty slick, and he totally owns the Tory Blue. He avoided a video, and instead features various issues which slide across the screen. It is clear he is not playing to win, but rather, playing to conservative ideologues by stressing senate reform, ending human rights tribunals, bringing back the bear hunt and municipal de-amalgamation (a lot of Torontonians would like him on that one issue).

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 10:55 p.m.  

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