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Alberta NDP leadership race: Final tally shows historic membership; McGowan drops out

Alberta NDP leadership candidate Gil McGowan answers a question during a leadership debate in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, May 11, 2024. Results of the leadership race are to be announced June 22. (Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press) Alberta NDP leadership candidate Gil McGowan answers a question during a leadership debate in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, May 11, 2024. Results of the leadership race are to be announced June 22. (Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press)
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A total of 85,144 members are eligible to vote for Alberta NDP's next leader.

The party's chief returning officer Amanda Freistadt confirmed the number Sunday evening, calling the leadership race "an historic moment" for the party.

"The largest number of NDP members in Alberta’s history will be eligible to vote. We look forward to a high voter turnout given the energy and enthusiasm the race has attracted.”

Alberta NDP's membership grew more than five times since Rachel Notley announced in January she'd be stepping down after a decade as leader, sparking the contest. In December, the party had 16,224 members.

McGowan out

As of Sunday evening, five people remained on the final list of leadership candidates: Edmonton MLAs Sarah Hoffman and Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse, Calgary MLA Kathleen Ganley, former Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Edmonton-based Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan.

However, McGowan announced Monday morning he was suspending his campaign because the final instalment of the $60,000 entry fee had proven to be "too much."

"I hope that whoever wins this race will take my insight about workers being the “missing piece” and use it as part of a strategy to beat the UCP and fix the things that are broken in Alberta — so that our province can truly live up to its potential," he said in a statement, also thanking supporters.

He called the increase in the party's membership "a real testament to both the hard work and vision of all the candidates — and also the strong desire among so many Albertans to build a viable alternative to the UCP."

Election details

Ballots and voting information will be delivered to members by Canada Post at the end of May.

Voting opens June 3.

All ballots must be received by noon on June 22.

The winner will be decided by a ranked choice ballot.

The party will announce its new leader that afternoon in Calgary.

An independent voting company is conducting the election. 

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