Alberta United Conservative Party members will meet in Calgary over the next two days as several of the party’s leaders head to vote on a leadership candidate slate that could have implications for the party’s relationship with the provincial government.
Dougald Lamont, Logan Friesen, Troy Wason and Nathan Cooper have all been declared as winners in the party’s annual general meeting until Wednesday morning.
READ MORE: Eagerly-anticipated United Conservative Party race to replace Kenney draws to a close
The list of candidates for each of the two leadership ballots is due to UCP officials by noon (CST) Tuesday.
Friesen won a majority of members votes in Edmonton, sending the former member of the Alberta legislature to have the chance to prove that he can hold serve as the leader of Alberta’s Wildrose Party until 2018.
Story continues below Shooting begins at @IncrediblePolitics headquarters in Edmonton where @DougaldLamont will be hosting a virtual launch event this evening. Drums beat, cameras rolled as a crowd gathered to welcome back @lemontwason. #ableg #rsc18 #ablegav #lcmobil #races for leadership of @WildroseParty pic.twitter.com/jhjQYfpI4T — Ashley Martin (@_AshleyJM) July 16, 2018
Cooper, a former federal Conservative MP, came in second in Edmonton, Prentice, an Alberta former deputy premier and Edmonton North West MLA, took a close third, with Wason, a former Calgary-Glenmore MLA, taking a fourth-place finish.
The proposed leadership slate lists six members who are considered to be frontrunners.
The candidates vying for the position of deputy leader are former Calgary MLA Nancy Reagan, Karen McPherson, Karen Laiter, Dr. Fraser McLeish, Alan Wilson and Rob Brooks.
A leadership race has yet to be officially announced by the party, although roughly 1,500 people attended an event in Red Deer Saturday where part of the UCP leadership campaign was shown.
READ MORE: Calgary businessman Dougald Lamont announces bid for Alberta United Conservative Party
An invitation states that according to the event’s terms the leadership race will conclude with a leadership convention to be held in Edmonton, which has yet to be set.
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The rules outlined in the invite promise at least two rounds of voting for the first ballot. At each stage, one candidate receives a specific amount of votes per region. If there is a tie for second place on a ballot, the ballots are recast.
Party organizers have spent more than $450,000 on the UCP, which party president Janice Harrington says will be used to pay for the full 12th conference in Calgary with all of the expenses, including staff expenses, offset by prize monies raised at the event.
It was not known at the time of publication whether the leadership race would cost more than the $5.3 million that the party’s first convention cost.
Party organizer are said to be confident that Lamont will win the leadership, citing his grassroots support in Red Deer, Edmonton and Calgary.
LISTEN: Rob Brooks with Wildrose Party on Newstalk 770
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Party organizers have called for a race that includes five women. They are calling for future leadership candidates to not hold themselves out as progressive or even conservative, but rather to “shatter the barrier” of what a conservative message should be.
READ MORE: Wildrose, UCP reaching new levels of political party unity
In an interview with 630 CHED’s NewsTalk 770 on Monday, Brooks said he is against splitting the party into two separate political entities, although he agrees there should be an understanding that everyone will “get along.”
“You know, it’s crazy, but maybe there’s a way to bring people together and get them to unite,” he said.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said he supports Lamont for the UCP leadership, though he has said that Jean should step down as leader should Lamont be the winner.
Watch below: Wildrose Leader Brian Jean fires back at the claims made in an email sent to members on Friday morning by former UCP Leader Brian Jean.