Jason, Scott and Joe Couture have all discussed the first month's financial reports from Saskatchewan's NDP leadership campaign. But I'll add a couple of other points that jump out at me.
First, the fund-raising numbers show just how different this leadership campaign will be compared to the 2009 version.
While the official reports don't seem to be available anymore, I wrote about the numbers just a month away from the last leadership vote. At that time Dwain Lingenfelter held a massive lead, while the other three candidates had raised a little over $42,000 combined - or an average of $14,000 apiece.
So what's different this time around? Only a month into the current campaign,the three trailing candidates have already exceeded the total accumulated by their counterparts at the end of the last one - with six more reporting periods left in the new race.
Meanwhile, the relative parity in the fund-raising numbers is also a brand-new development. Instead of a single front-runner being able to easily outspend the rest of the competition combined, we're now seeing four campaigns with relatively equal resources. And that figures to reduce the role money ultimately plays compared to other factors.
If there is any hint as to what's to come based on the first fund-raising totals, I'd note that Trent Wotherspoon's early show of force (glitzy launch, tour and all) didn't translate into a similar lead in the fund-raising totals. And while Wotherspoon may well have made some connections that will allow him to catch up as the race progresses, it looks tougher to classify him as the favourite if his establishment support isn't leading to any financial advantage.
But the more important story for now looks to be that all of the leadership candidates have enough money flowing in to largely take finances off the table as a distinguishing factor. Which means that we'll have to look for other ways to determine who's pulling ahead as the campaign develops.