Monday, September 14, 2009

A bold pronouncement from the Ashton team

They say they have the numbers to win on the first ballot:

Meanwhile, Steve Ashton's campaign officials announced today that they have signed up or renewed 1,100 party memberships over the past several days and suggested the Thompson MLA is in the lead in attracting delegate support.

Further, they said Ashton could narrowly win the leadership on the first ballot.

Before the leadership race began, the provincial NDP had about 5,500 members, according to party officials. As of Sunday, the party had about 7,500 members.

Ashton campaign chairman Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt, who turned over 250 new memberships at NDP headquarters on Portage Avenue this afternoon, said Ashton is selling memberships across the province, with most in the city of Winnipeg.

From the Winnipeg Free Press. Recruiting those new members is no small achievement; those 1100 memberships are worth 110 delegates at the convention under the formula used by the party. Of course, that's 110 out of 750, so it's far from a foregone conclusion. Actually it's more than 750, due to the fact that riding associations and labour are granted a certain number of automatic delegates (who some are calling "superdelegates", following the American example). And in any case, the other candidates have until Thursday to catch up, after which new members are not eligible to be delegates (or to elect them).

I have no idea if Ashton can win on the first ballot. I do suspect that if he can't do it on the first ballot, he won't do it at all; supporters of Selinger and Swan probably have more in common with each other than with supporters of Ashton, and will vote accordingly if their chosen candidate is dropped. I could be wrong about this, but I don't think so.

Meanwhile, from the same article, Swan has taken a clear stance against the HST for the balance of this government's term, though he doesn't explicitly reject the idea of bringing it in afterwards if reelected. Not really that different, in that Selinger, as we've seen, has said that it doesn't seem like a good idea at this time, but isn't prepared to say never either.

And last, but not least, Selinger has picked up another endorsement, this one from Water Stewardship Minister Christine Melnick (same article yet again). Credit is due to Never Eat Yellow Snow for predicting this last week. I notice as well that while his domain name still directs to the caucus bio, Selinger now has a YouTube channel.

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