Tuesday, February 26, 2013

#skndpldr Candidate Rankings - February 26

For obvious reasons, there's at least one change to this week's Saskatchewan NDP leadership candidate rankings. But will there be any more news other than Erin Weir's withdrawal from the race at a time when most of the voting is expected to be taking place?

1. Ryan Meili (1)

Well, Meili for one should enjoy a strengthened position, with Weir (and by all indications his key supporters) added to what already looked to be the front-running campaign just in time to combine the candidates' respective get-out-the-vote efforts. And while I'm not quite as eager as some to declare the race over, it will be a major surprise if Meili doesn't at least end up in a close final ballot.

2. Cam Broten (2)

That said, I'm not sure Broten's positioning in the race has changed all that much following Weir's departure. He'll still figure to be planning for a final ballot against Meili, seeking to gain enough of an advantage among Trent Wotherspoon's supporters (based on the familiar experience theme) to overcome any first-ballot gap. And at worst for Broten, that gap may be somewhat larger now than it appeared before.

3. Trent Wotherspoon (3)

That leaves Wotherspoon in his familiar third-place position. And while I still see a fairly close contest between the three remaining candidates on the first ballot, the down-ballot opportunities for Wotherspoon are starting to dry up.

Until this week, Wotherspoon's best chance of assembling a bandwagon at the convention looked to come from Weir's Regina base: even a subtle shift in his favour between the first and second ballots might have given him the perception of momentum and helped to turn the tide in his favour. But with that possibility no longer available, Wotherspoon's only chance is to convince Saskatoon voters to support him over a more familiar local figure on a final ballot from a standing start - and without any assurance that there will be enough votes in play to overcome a probable geographical disadvantage in the advance voting.

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