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Brown’s campaign manager joins Michelle Rempel Garner for possible UCP leadership bid

OTTAWA — Patrick Brown’s campaign manager has left to help Michelle Rempel Garner in her possible bid to lead the United Conservative Party in Alberta.

Brown’s Conservative leadership campaign says Sean Schnell has stepped down to follow Rempel Garner, who last week announced she was stepping down as Brown’s national co-chair.

Rempel Garner is considering running to replace Alberta Premier Jason Kenney as provincial party leader, following his decision to step down after narrowly surviving a leadership review last month.

Schnell had worked for Rempel Garner’s office before either of the leadership contests began.

Chisholm Pothier, a spokesperson for Brown, said Schnell stayed for a few days after deciding to accompany Rempel Garner so he could help the team through the transition.

Pothier says Fred DeLorey, who served as the federal party’s national campaign manager for the 2021 federal election, remains on the team as executive chairman.

In the past month, Brown has also lost the support of two Tory MPs – Ontario’s Kyle Seeback and Dan Muys – to his main leadership rival, Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre.

Brown’s campaign brushed aside their decisions, saying that only counts for two votes out of the more than 150,000 new members he says he has signed.

Poilievre said he sold nearly 312,000 memberships – a record number – and asked the party to validate those numbers, which he declined to do.

As the party plans to have a voting base of over 600,000 members, it is working to secure a national list of their names for campaigns by July 4.

The winner of the Conservative leadership race will be announced in Ottawa on September 10.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 22, 2022.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press