Monday, April 18, 2005

Spring Election III: Local Candidates

Local Candidates

I can't say it enough: I think the chances of a strong CPC government (125+ seats) rest soundly on the quality of the candidates that get the nomination in southern Ontario, Quebec, and some parts of B.C. These are the places where the uneasy coalition between the supporters of the old PC and Reform parties can finally produce tangible results. On this issue I find myself in disagreement with one of my favourite Tory bloggers but in agreement with Peter Mansbridge from the current issue of Macleans.

If the strikingly Liberal-negative polling results hold steady for a while some senior Liberals in swing ridings will have an important question to answer: Is running another campaign really worth it if chances are at least even that I'll find myself in the opposition benches even if I manage to get re-elected? Having a riding go high profile cabinet minister to relative unknown candidate is definitely a recipe for flux. I suppose the fact that it seems obvious that no one is going to win a majority in an election called within the next twelve months will make some of these guys less likely to retire. Presumably, the fact that they were willing to run in the last election means that they'd planned on sticking around for five years after that. Of course the more time passes until an election is called and the more it looks like the Liberals will be in opposition the more difficult it gets to predict what these senior politicians will do.

To expect even a minority government the CPC will have to run an extremely professional campaign. The biggest obstacle last time was candidates who ran their mouths off. A repeat can only be avoided if the best possible slate of 308 candidates is nominated and given a chance to install a campaign architecture before the writ is dropped. As far as I know the BQ is the only party that is at this level of readiness right now.

Polling numbers are pointing strongly towards a Conservative minority right now. I really think that Ontarians in swing ridings can be convinced that the best way to counter the western yahoo factor is to elect as many moderate Tories from elsewhere.


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