Things are looking up for Gary Mar, Alberta’s former health minister. He is looking to become the leader of the Tories and so far has claimed victory in 52 out of the 83 ridings throughout the province. In total, he took 41 percent of the first round vote. To win, he must win over 50 percent. The final vote takes place in less than two weeks.
Running against Mar are Doug Horner and Alison Redford. Horner claimed victory in 13 ridings, mostly in the north and in Edmonton. Redford took ten, and all of Calgary except one. Both of these candidates have very slim numbers in parts of the province, and a lot of work ahead to secure more support. This means that for now Mar is in the driver’s seat.
Conservative politics in Alberta is usually split along geographical lines, in some ways the north against the south. Ed Stelmach, the current leader, won in 2006 despite loosing in all 23 Calgary ridings. Stelmach represents a northern riding. Mar appears to have more provincial wide support, and is emphasizing that fact while on the campaign trail.
Meanwhile, Horner and Redford are pressing forward, despite Mar’s taking over 24,000 votes from faithful Torries. Mar continues to spread the word about unifying the province, and it seems to be resonating well. Even so, Redford will be pressing north over the weekend to entice northern voters and Horner will be courting Calgary voters.