Monday, January 14, 2013

Ontario Liberal Leadership Race - Two Women in the Lead

The Ontario Liberals are holding an old style delegated convention to elect their new leader.  For political pundits this is a much more exciting than the other ways leaders are being elected these days.   I have to admit I find the drama of a delegated convention more compelling to watch more than most hockey games.

The delegate selection meetings happened over the weekend and big loser was Gerard Kennedy.  Polling had him in the lead over Sandra Pupatello and Kathleen Wynne, nothing was indicating he would do quite as badly as he did.

Here is my list of the best estimate of where the candidates are at when counting the 1837 delegates selected over the weekend and the 102 ex-officio delegates that have expressed their support for someone:

Candidate       elected  total percentage
Sandra Pupatello  504     543   24.1%
Kathleen Wynne    463     501   22.2%
Gerard Kennedy    257     267   11.8%
Harinder Takhar   244     245   10.9%
Charles Sousa     198     201    8.9%
Eric Hoskins      104     115    5.1%
Unpledged          67     384   17.0%

1129 votes are needed to win at the convention if all the 419 ex-officio delegates vote.   If only half  of the ex-officio delegates vote, this makes the total likely votes at the convention about 2045 and the number needed to win 1023.

In delegated leadership races in Canada the candidate that comes first on the first ballot normally wins.  A few times the second place candidate on the first ballot wins and a few times over the last hundred years someone third or lower on the first ballot won, here are the only examples I can find (I might have missed some but no obvious ones that I can think of):

  • 1976 The Federal Progressive Conservative Party leadership was won by Joe Clark after coming third on the first ballot with 11.7% of the vote.
  • 1977 Newfoundland Liberal leadership was won by Bill Rowe who can third on the first ballot.
  • 1984 BC NDP was won by Bob Skelly who was third on the first ballot
  • 1996 Ontario Liberal leadership was won by Dalton McGuinty who came fourth on the first ballot.
  • 2006 Alberta PC leadership was won by Ed Stelmach on the third ballot after coming third on the first ballot - this was not a delegated convention.
  • 2006 Federal Liberal leadership was won by Stephane Dion who came third on the first ballot

In 1996 Dalton McGuinty managed to come from fourth place on the first ballot and win on the fifth ballot against front runner Gerard Kennedy.  This is the only example I found of someone who came fourth that then won.

Gerard Kennedy is further behind the second place candidate than the others that came from third or fourth to win the leadership.

Clearly the race will be between Sandra Pupatello and Kathleen Wynne and neither one of them has a commanding lead over the other.   The two of them have split the declared ex-officio delegates almost evenly and have 3/4s of the ones that expressed an opinion.

This is also the only example I can find of a race where the two front runners are women.

Which ever one wins will mean that yet another province of Canada will have a female premier.   That will bring it to six women as premiers and all four largest provinces having a woman in power.

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