When provincial New Democrats choose their next leader on April 17, Surrey party members will have a significant say in determining the outcome of that vote. But the voices of Vancouver Island cardholders could be equally loud, according to membership data compiled by one of the leadership campaigns and exclusively obtained by Public Eye. At the time the data was compiled, 2,000 members had yet to be assigned a home riding. However, Surrey was the region with the most assigned members - 5,964 - and Vancouver Island was close behind with 5,513.
That means leadership candidate John Horgan - who represents the riding of Juan de Fuca and is best known on the Island - might have more support than initially anticipated. But that's not the only story the data tells. According to those numbers:
* the New Democrat membership stands at 28,415. By comparison, the Liberals reported in February their membership was now "approaching 90,000" as a result of the party's own leadership race. This, despite the fact the Liberals have a reputation for ignoring their grassroots;
* Mr. Farnworth has 1,086 members in his own constituency association. That's more than twice the number of members in Adrian Dix and Mr. Horgan's associations;
* even though three out of the four ridings in northwestern British Columbia are held by New Democrats - Gary Coons, Doug Donaldson and Robin Austin - there are only 455 party members in the whole region;
* MLA Sue Hammell's constituency association has 1,582 members - more than any other in the province. Ms. Hammell is one of Mr. Dix's endorsers; and
* among those ridings not held by the opposition, Surrey-Panorama Ridge has the most party members - 977. That riding was formerly represented Jagrup Brar - one of Mr. Farnworth's supporters. Mr. Brar is now the MLA for Surrey-Fleetwood, which has 837 cardholders.
The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned data.