Conservative leadership race: More than half of members voted a week before deadline – National

More than half of Conservative Party members voted for its next leader, giving the remaining members a week to do the same.

On Tuesday, the party said more than 350,000 mail-in ballots had been returned out of the 678,000 they sent out to eligible voters in the contest.

This means that voter turnout currently stands at around 52% so far. In the party’s 2020 leadership race, which was won by Ontario MLA Erin O’Toole, about 65% of members voted.

Leadership contestants and their teams spent the final weeks of this race with their heads down, poring over the membership list, working to make sure their supporters got the vote – and trying to reach those who didn’t. not done.

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Front-runner Pierre Poilievre, who held nearly 80 large rallies across the country throughout the campaign, held his last meeting Monday in Vancouver. His team says more than 1,000 people attended.

His efforts to get the vote out have been aided by many of the 62 MPs who support him, many of whom spent the latter part of the summer organizing events where supporters can vote in person.

Saskatchewan MP Corey Tochor, who co-chairs Poilievre’s campaign in that province with former leader Andrew Scheer, said he’s seen two to three times as many people take part in these events compared to leadership contests. in the past.

« The level of excitement is through the roof. »

Along with collecting ballots to send to Ottawa, he said the events also serve as an opportunity to hear from the party base.

« It’s really gratifying to meet the grassroots, whether new members or existing members, who have tears in their eyes thinking about the possibility of change. »

Click to play the video: “Daniel Westlake Breaks Down the Conservative Leadership Race”

Daniel Westlake breaks down Tory leadership race

Daniel Westlake breaks down the Tory leadership race – August 22, 2022

Events also provide supporters with a place to photocopy identification, which must be sent with the ballot to confirm its validity. This requirement can be a logistical obstacle.

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Many party members expect Poilievre to win, and potentially win big, after his campaign reported selling more than 300,000 memberships. He also entered the race extremely popular with the party’s existing base.

His campaign said many memberships were bought by people who had never belonged to a political party – meaning the process of voting for them is also new.

Despite the momentum behind Poilievre, Jean Charest’s campaign said it believes the former Quebec premier has the points needed to secure a narrow victory.

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Candidates are awarded points based on the share of the vote they obtain in each of their constituencies. The winner must obtain more than 50% of the available points.

For the final week of voting out, Charest’s campaign is focusing its resources in Ontario and British Columbia, which it sees as two of the race’s battlegrounds. It is counting on a solid performance in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

He also hopes to win support that would otherwise have gone to Patrick Brown, who was disqualified from the race last month over an allegation that he violated the country’s election law.

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Brown focused on recruiting supporters from immigrant and racialized communities. Some party members believe those supporters will choose not to vote now that he is not a candidate.

But after his ousting, Charest reached out to Brown’s organizers. Mukarram Ali Zaidi of Calgary said he was one of them.

“Whatever Patrick Brown does, he has agreed to continue this work,” he said in a recent interview, adding that this includes fighting Quebec’s controversial Bill 21.

« When politicians want your support and vote, they say whatever you want. »

Zaidi, who is Muslim, said he also asked Charest to pledge to investigate Brown’s withdrawal from the race, which he said shocked many Brown supporters.

Charest campaign spokeswoman Michelle Coates Mather confirmed in a statement that he was committed to an investigation.

The next Conservative leader will be announced at a convention in Ottawa on September 10.

© 2022 The Canadian Press


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