Brian Jean and Jason Kenney want to create a united conservative party, but while they’re dealing with that little chore, they’ll scratch like bobcats for the top job.

The unofficial race for the leadership of the United Conservative Party was underway less than 24 hours after the unity proposal was announced.

We’re talking about the leadership of a party that doesn’t yet exist. Wildrose and the PCs will decide July 22, in separate votes, if the merger happens. After that, the leader would be chosen Oct. 28.

But they’re at it already. In fact, one campaign quietly began months ago.

On Friday a new political action body called the Alberta Fund released a poll, conducted two weeks ago by the reputable Janet Brown, on the race for leadership of the nonexistent party.

The survey says 37 per cent of respondents would be more likely to vote for a united party led by Wildrose Leader Jean. Twenty-two per cent would favour one led by PC Leader Kenney.

Brown said she conducted the poll two weeks ago. The Alberta Fund bought questions on her larger monthly omnibus survey.

The Fund is chaired by Dave Yager, a longtime Wildrose activist and Brian Jean booster. He calls the Alberta Fund a Jean “fan club.” It’s a registered third party political advertiser with Elections Alberta.

Yager stepped down from the Wildrose executive in January to pursue the project.

You could mark that as the real beginning of Jean’s UCP leadership campaign – four months before Thursday’s signing of the unity proposal.

Kenney’s group is more muted about any planning for the next leadership contest, although one organizer said, “We’re already on war footing after 10 solid months of campaigning. We just have to rev up and keep going.” More details will be known next week, he added.

Wildrose appears to enjoy an edge in both …read more

Source:: Calgary Herald

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