Now that Jason Kenney has officially announced his intentions, he has some obstacles to overcome if he’s going to be successful at taking over the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservatives.
At this year’s convention, the party opted out of the "one member, one vote" system because they felt it was too easy for outsiders to take the party over. Now they’ve opted for a delegate convention.
This means Kenney will have to take over all of the PCAA Constituency Associations which will, in turn, send delegates to vote for the next leader of the party.
This will be no easy task, but we have to remember that he will most certainly have the backing of his federal counterparts.
There are 34 federal ridings in Alberta and 29 of those are conservative. With Jason Kenney’s organizational skills and 20 years of political experience in the province, he’s definitely got the connections and the upper hand over other leadership candidates.
There is also the issue of resistance from members in both the Wildrose Party and the Progressive Conservatives, even though recent polling from Alberta Can’t Wait shows that a united conservative party would dominate the NDP in the next election.
There are die hard Wildrosers out there that simply won’t support a PC leader in uniting because they see the party as corrupted and arrogant. The Wildrose Party isn’t free of controversy either. They’ve had their fair share of media gaffes and polling has them at 35 per cent which is only 8 per cent ahead of the NDP.
And then there are the diehard social liberals within the PC Party that simply don’t want to unite with conservatives under a big tent.
There’s also the issue that the party is broke. At convention time in May, the party was ending the month with $10,000 in the bank; compare that with the regular $150,000 that they regularly spend in a month.
They need to raise $4 million for the next election, making a rebuild of the party under current circumstances a stretch, to say the least.
Uniting the right will be a challenge, but this is exactly why if anyone can accomplish this, it’s Jason Kenney.