Monday, December 6, 2010

Possible NDP Leaders

So who might run?

Sitting MLAs  - The front runners
Adrian Dix - He is smart, he know politics and he is a very capable MLA.   He knows what it takes to win the leadership and what it takes to win an election.  His only downside is his former position as Chief of Staff to Glen Clark, but at this point this is 11 years ago.   I personally think he is the most likely winner and this would most likely lead to a Dix v Falcon smack down in 2013.   That is an election I would bring popcorn to.

Mike Farnworth - I think he could make a good leader, but I am not convinced he will run.

John Horgan - I think he has capable but also charismatic in a way the other front runners are not.  He easily connects with people, especially people that are not New Democrats.   In my opinion his biggest flaw of late has been how strongly and vocally he condemned the dissenting MLAs.  This may make him look like a divisive person in the party.

Rob Fleming - he is not charismatic, but he is ambitious and can organize.   I do not think he could win, but if he places well it cements his position in the party.   He is not yet 40 and wait several elections to become leader, he can play the long game.  I see him as the dark horse in this race.

Other MLAs
Bruce Ralston -  He is ambitious and will either run or be a prominent supporter of one of the front runners.

Jenny Kwan - She might run and I expect she will get more media attention than she deserves.   She is still a light weight and will not find much support in the party   I am sure there will be people looking for some sort of standard bearer of the dissent group to run for the leadership.

Harry Bains - He has been one of the better MLAs in keeping the government inline.   I do not know enough about his organizational skills or connections within the party.  

Harry Lali - he might run and hope to engage rural BC New Democrats.  He also has some good connections in the indo-Canadian community that could bring him the organizers needed to do well in a race.

Norm Macdonald - He would a stronger candidate from rural BC, but his involvement with the dissident group will not serve him well.   Part of me wonders if he is a natural for the current world of partisan politics or is not entirely happen with how things work in the legislature.

I have looked through the list of the MLAs and I am surprised at how weak the list of female MLAs is.   There are some I have barely heard of, others that I know are not capable of being leader and finally a couple I do not know enough about to know if they could win a leadership race.

Sitting MPs

There are no NDP MPs like Nelson Riis or Svend Robinson that come with a strong name recognition, they would all be long shots, though interesting ones.

Nathan Cullen - he is on the young side at 38 but he has been hard working as an MP and he has a media persence.   He also seems to have a following among the green end of the NDP.

Peter Julian - He has been a hard working MP and has managed to get some things done in Ottawa.  I do not know if he has enough of a following within any circles of the NDP to be a serious threat for the leadership.

Bill Siksay - He has a long history of serious involvement with the NDP and is connected to various networks that should help in any election

Libby Davies - she would appeal to the left of the party, but I am not certain she will run, though if there are no other women running, I think it is not reasonable to see her in the race.   Being on the left is going to be the barrier she would have to overcome.

Gregor Robertson - I do not see him running, it would look bad not having finished his term as MLA and then not finishing his term as mayor.

Corky Evans - I do not see him making a come back

Joy MacPhail - I doubt that she would run, but I think she would be a formidable candidate if she did.

There might be some labour leaders that might consider a run, but I suspect if they will be quietly approached not to run as it would not look good for the NDP to have a labour leader and party leader.

What will be important is any candidate to get a strong campaign manager.   The NDP membership is small enough at the moment that getting a few thousand people to join the party would enough to win the race.   The leadership race should also be good for the party because it will boost the membership numbers and the number of volunteers the party has.   The NDP has a current membership that is lower than in 2000 when the party was at the nadir of its existance in this province.


Anonymous said...

What about some of the candidates from last time, such as Leonard Krog or Craig Keating?

Bernard said...

Leonard Krog could not win in 2003, he has not chance now. As to Craig Keating, all I can say is "Who?" he has been a non entity.

The NDP suffered from the fact that no serious candidates stepped up in 2003 to run for the leadership. Carole James was not ready to be leader and should not have been chosen, she needed some time either as an MLA or as a mayor of a city before becoming leader.

Unfortunately for the NDP the problems of this fall came about because of the absence of the serious candidates seven years ago.

cosmicsync said...

Thanks for the thoughtful analysis.

Assuming you're talking about a permanent leader, who do you see as an interim leader? Or will they skip that step and go straight to a full-blown leadership convention?

I doubt the party could afford to hold one earlier than fall of 2011, but they run the risk a new Liberal leader could call a snap election and catch them with their pants down.

As you mentioned, signing up new members will be one of the keys to winning the leadership, and they need to think beyond picking a new leader to financing an election campaign.

Anonymous said...

Leonard Krog is dead in the water. He picked the wrong side in the recent division. Bruce Ralston will have his choice of finance or AG. Leonard will warm a backbench.

Bernard said...

For interim leader I assume they will choose someone boring but competent that is not interested in the leadership.

cosmicsync said...

I think the role of interim is too important to be left to someone "boring but competent," especially given the Liberals will have selected their permanent leader by the end of February. If it's Falcon or Clark, they will come out guns-a-blazing, looking to paint the NDP as a party in disarray and distance themselves from the HST, BC Rail, the Basi-Virk decision etc.

An interim leader, who doesn't need to worry about winning the next election (unless the Liberal's successor recalls the house and changes the fixed election legislation) could be much more aggressive, pressing Clark on her involvement in the "sale" of BC Rail, for example, or Falcon on shadow tolls and other problems with P3s.

Mike Farnworth would be a good choice, if he isn't interested in the permanent job.

If the interim takes the boring "caretaker" approach, the new Liberal leader will have a much easier time distancing themselves from the last nine years and convincing voters they are a true "fresh start."

If the NDP takes that approach, they may as well have stuck with Carole James until next fall's convention.

Bernard said...

The focus for the next months is going to be on all the people running for the leadership of the NDP and the Liberals. If you have someone 'too good' as interim leader, the people running for the office will look bad.

The interim leader has a role to ensure the MLAs not in the race are focusing on taking the government to task. Boring but competent sums it up well for me.

In 1999 the NDP in part suffered because Dan Miller was obviously so much better than the leading candidate in the race that it did not help the NDP in the run up to the next election.