Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On endorsements

After offering up my own endorsement yesterday, I'll note that there have been a few other updates in the endorsement department recently which send some interesting signals about where the candidates see themselves going into the home stretch.

Let's start with Deb Higgins, who managed to make it through the entire month of April without a new endorsement before unveiling the support of former MP Ron Fisher last week. And while Fisher certainly doesn't make for a bad addition to her list, it's fairly striking that Higgins' most recent endorsement carries a substantially lower profile than some of the ones she was able to win earlier in the campaign.

Meanwhile, Dwain Lingenfelter was able to secure the endorsement of former MLA Doreen Hamilton today. But while it's not a huge surprise for another of Lingenfelter's former caucus-mates to show her support, the choice of wording used in the endorsement itself may raise some eyebrows.

In addition to the usual message about experience and 2011, Hamilton's statement specifically points to Lingenfelter's "commitment to rebuild the New Democratic Party (and) encourage a new generation of candidates and leaders at every level of the Party". Which is interesting both in the fact that it comes from a longtime MLA and cabinet minister rather than a member of the "new generation" itself, and in that it seems to represent a shift in strategy for a campaign which had been fairly quiet on questions of generational renewal since the two younger candidates had joined the race.

Finally, I'll point out one noteworthy difference between Ryan Meili's endorsements page and those of Higgins and Lingenfelter. While the latter two have limited their highlighted endorsements to effective appeals to authority in the form of well-known NDP figures or unions, Meili's page mixes that type of endorsement with others chosen for their content rather than any prestige associated with the speaker.

On the cynical side, that could be seen as a convenient way of padding an endorsement list, particularly for those mostly interested in seeing who's lined up in which camp. But it also signals some dedication to the idea that it isn't only higher-ups within the party whose opinions are worth highlighting - and one has to figure that more members will find something that reflects their own thinking in Meili's variety of endorsements than in the more limited range of ideas pointed to by the other candidates.

Update: And there's another endorsement for Lingenfelter with a youth-oriented slant.

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