Top of Mind - January 10, 2013

What role will the provincial New Democrat dissidents have in the race to succeed Carole James?

Contrary to what Ms. James told reporters, the opposition to her leadership wasn't confined to a "small minority" but rather comprised 40 percent of the New Democrat caucus and an undetermined number of rank-and-file members. As such, potential leadership hopeful Mike Farnworth's supporters already seem to be making a play to appeal to those dissidents, pre-positioning the Port Coquitlam MLA as the candidate who can best "bring the party together." Nevertheless, its also important to recognize they're not a cohesive voting block, having come from disparate political perspectives. So it would be a mistake to marginalize them. But it would also be a mistake to overstate their influence.

What does this mean for Adrian Dix, who is expected to enter the New Democrat leadership race this week, and John Horgan, who will do so today?

It's unclear what relationship Messrs. Dix and Horgan will have with the dissidents. But what is clear is they would be best advised to pick their senior campaigners carefully. Following Ms. James's decision to resign, some senior New Democrats publicly and privately called for retribution against the dissidents - in particular, Vancouver-Kingsway MLA Jenny Kwan. So it would be prudent for Messrs. Dix and Horgan to ask themselves whether having those individuals as key supporters will damage their chances of reaching out to the dissidents and, by extension, winning the leadership.

Which provincial Liberal leadership candidate is winning the air campaign?

It's difficult to determine who is winning the ground campaign - the race to sign-up supporters. But George Abbott may be winning the air campaign. Despite the obvious deficiencies of his new campaign slogan, logo and Website, Mr. Abbott - with his message of regional outreach and government reform - seems to have generated more positives than negatives for his campaign. By comparison, the converse appears to be true for his competitors - Christy Clark, Kevin Falcon and Mike de Jong. Although Mr. Falcon's plan to recognize and reward teachers may win him votes with his party's base supporters.

Why did Mr. Abbott promise an independent third party review of the legislature raid case legal settlement?

The former education ministers seems to be trying to get some of the public relations benefit of calling for a public inquiry into that case without actually doing so. But, perhaps most importantly, it helps Mr. Abbott win and reinforce support among government members who were upset about the handling of former ministerial assistants David Basi and Bob Virk's plea bargains.

1 Comment

Sean, I really think Clark's running a balanced ground n air campaign. Kinda biased towards airpower, but she's also fighting for the boot/skate strength to go deep into the ballot preferences and score! Note her recent preference for more sign-up books... also that while Falcon's merit pay efforts are dividing the party (not-so-secret I like the concept, but a campaign's not the time to roll out something like that in lieu of months of dialogue), Clark's never proposed a divisive policy plank.

Abbott, on the other hand, he's got some organizers who like to poke. Also the torch is a total... BUST. "The People Are Coming"... huh, I though the BCLibs were the people's choice against socialism, a coalition, et al.

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