After the first ballot results were announced yesterday, I pointed out the 20% net margin of support that Cam Broten needed to turn a close first-ballot result into a narrow win. And that turned out to be exactly what materialized: of the 2,393 votes cast initially for either Trent Wotherspoon or Erin Weir, the final result showed 18% attrition, with 51% to Broten and 31% to Ryan Meili - leading to Broten's election as the Saskatchewan NDP's new leader.
But in retrospect, there was another, even closer vote comparison which may have hinted at the same end result.
Notwithstanding an entirely different type of leadership campaign and plenty of new participants within his own camp, Meili's final vote total of 4,120 was a jump of exactly 18 votes from his second-ballot total in 2009. And while I'm not sure if Broten's campaign focused on that number to any great extent, it turns out that past performance almost exactly paralleled Meili's results this time - as Broten's winning vote count was based on his accumulating just enough down-ballot support to eke past the total Meili had earned before.
So what comes next for the NDP? Well, I've been one of many commentators pointing out the diverse and complementary set of skills among the leadership candidates. And Broten's experience and support should make for a seamless transition within the current NDP caucus.
At the same time, there will be plenty of work to be done in keeping the new supporters of all of the candidates engaged - particularly Meili's grassroots base which produced so many of the creative ideas which emerged during the leadership campaign. And while Broten took some important steps yesterday in echoing Meili's vision and reaching out to the other camps, I'll hope to see plenty of people from all leadership camps looking for ways to stay connected and involved - both within the NDP and in the broader social democratic movement.