Last week’s story on nominations opening for the United Conservative Party in Lesser Slave Lake lacked a couple of important details. Those were the opening and closing dates of the nomination period.
We’ve since gotten clarification from UCP constituency association president Gordon Ferguson. Nominations opened on Jan. 19 and will close on Feb. 2.
What we don’t have, yet, is confirmation of anybody being an official candidate. As noted a week ago, Scott Sinclair and Martine Carifelle have said they intend to run for the party’s nomination. But that had not been confirmed by press time.
Ferguson told The Leader four other people had expressed interest in running.
Incumbent Lesser Slave MLA Pat Rehn has decided not to run. His letter announcing his intentions appears in the ‘Letters’ section of this paper, on Page 10.
Rehn’s resignation should make things quite a bit simpler for UCP members. If he’d been tipped as the candidate with the party’s endorsement, it would have put some voters in an awkward position. In fact more than once The Leader has heard the opinion (off the record) that if Rehn became the candidate, the UCP would lose the riding. One UCP supporter went as far as to say he would vote for the NDP candidate if Rehn held the UCP banner in May.
But Rehn’s withdrawal has settled all that and it just remains for party members to choose a brand new face to represent the party in the next provincial election.
Only party members can vote. The actual voting date had not been chosen by press time. Ferguson says it will fall sometime between Feb. 23 and March 9.
Whatever date is chosen, party memberships can only be purchased up to 21 days before the vote. That’s why a big part of this sort of campaigning (as opposed to what’s done during a general election) is plugging party membership sales. Sinclair sent out a campaign poster last week with that very reminder, plus some of his campaign platform points.
The Leader also reached out to Carifelle, by email, but she had not responded by press time.