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The ABCs of Calgary Centre, by the Numbers

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Joan Crockatt

Seems as if an Anybody But Crockatt effort is afoot among some of the federal (or is that provincial?) Conservatives in the thick of the Calgary Centre federal riding nomination fight.

Leastways, according to the word from the trenches, supporters of candidate Greg McLean (who was, readers will recall, endorsed last Friday by departed Calgary Centre MP Lee Richardson, who is now Alberta Premier Alison Redford's principal secretary) are being asked to place lawyer Richard Billington in the No. 2 spot on their preferential ballot.

That's designed to edge candidate Joan Crockatt out, presumably as punishment for her backing the Wildrose Party in her journalistic commentaries before the April 23 provincial election. Another prominent Wildrose backer? Oh, say, Prime Minister Stephen Harper…

To this, we can add a few more relevant numbers to the exciting Conservative Party nomination race to replace Richardson:

-    Number of candidates: 6

-    Position Greg McLean supporters recommend voters place Richard Billington on preferential ballot: 2

-    Position Alison Redford supporters recommend voters place Joan Crockatt on preferential ballot: Dead last!

-    Number of Redford cabinet ministers officially campaigning for the ABC candidate: 1 (Christine Cusanelli, the tourism minister)

-    Revised number of eligible voters: 1,956

-    Number of still-eligible voters who were members before the campaign began: About 1,000

-    Number of ballots it could take to find a winner: 3

-    Number of well-connected Tory widows known to have been phoned and asked if their husbands would like a ride to the polls: 1

Well, as one Tory said to me: "You just can't make this stuff up!"

The candidates, again, in alphabetical order, are:

-    Richard Billington, a well-connected Tory lawyer who has served as a party official

-    Joan Crockatt, a journalist and commentator known for her right-wing views

-    John Lord, a businessman successful in the past in municipal and provincial politics with ties to the party's social conservative wing

-    Greg McLean, a venture capitalist and former young Conservative leader, endorsed by the previous (Red Tory) office holder

-    Joe Soares, a resident of Quebec – and for this reason, known as "Calgary Joe" -- with an ill-defined past connection to the Prime Minister's Office as an "advisor"

-    Stefan Spargo, well known for flying an Alberta flag over his house

Remember, whoever wins, if you happen to live in Calgary Centre, vote for the NDP when the prime minister gets around to calling a by-election! I mean, seriously, people… who wants to be represented by a divided party like this one?

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.

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