Gateway Gazette

Drew Barnes has Momentum in Wildrose Leadership Race

 

51% support Barnes in poll of Wildrose members; fundraising and endorsements point to strength on the ground

MEDICINE HAT, AB – As Wildrose members start telephone voting to select a new leader who will be announced on March 28th, overwhelming support among current Wildrose members and strength on the ground has given Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes the clear momentum in the race.

Now that the membership cut-off has passed, and Barnes has submitted “more than my share of new members”, all eyes are on the existing 24,000 Wildrosers who will decide the race.

Internal polling conducted by the Barnes Campaign on March 12th and 16th showed 51% support for Barnes, 36% undecided, and 7% support for each candidates Brian Jean and Linda Osinchuk. “As I travel the province, I’m encouraged by the endorsements of Constituency Association presidents from both northern and southern Alberta,” said Barnes. “These are the grassroots and I appreciate their confidence.”

While the sample size is relatively small (134), it does confirm that as Wildrose members decide they are breaking to Barnes. An internal poll of 789 Wildrose members conducted March 5th to 7th had a 54% undecided level.

“I think what’s really resonating with members is that I’m out there, listening and building that trust one member at a time,” said Barnes. He said he is also getting positive feedback for sticking with the Wildrose Party after the floor-crossing last December and on his legislative track record as a strong advocate for fiscal responsibility and accountability.

Barnes noted that given the undecided factor and depending on turnout, it could still be a close race and so he plans to encourage members to vote right up until the last day.

Barnes also pointed to a fundraising total of $90,000 so far in his leadership run as further evidence of on-the-ground support and the ability to mount a strong campaign for the anticipated spring election.

“I won my seat in 2012 by working hard and defeating a PC incumbent in a long-held PC seat,” said Barnes. “Now we need to replicate that success in 87 ridings across Alberta.”

Barnes is the MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat and has experience as the Finance Critic, Education and Advanced Education Critic and Opposition Whip for the Wildrose Caucus in the Legislature. He is author of several reports calling for fiscal responsibility and accountability in government spending. A rancher and businessperson, Barnes announced his candidacy for the Wildrose leadership on February 27 and has since travelled all over Alberta speaking to grassroots Wildrose members.

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