Chins are wagging and there are too many names to mention as political insiders wait for the race to replace former premier Kathy Dunderale to get underway.
That process will take a crucial first step forward on Saturday, when Progressive Conservative party president Cillian Sheahan and the party’s executive committee meet to set a date for the leadership convention and start to hammer out some of the preliminary details.
At least four or five members of the Tory caucus are said to be thinking about running, along with just as many people who don’t currently hold a seat in the legislature.
But at least one prominent name has already bowed out: Child, Youth and Family Services Minister Paul Davis announced Tuesday he won’t run for the leadership.
“The leadership isn’t something I had been previously considering. Over the last week I have been encouraged by many to consider the possibility and sincerely appreciate the very kind response I have been receiving,” Davis said in an email. “However, after careful consideration I have decided that I will not be offering myself as a candidate to become the leader of the PC party.”
This weekend’s meeting will be to set a date for the leadership convention, as well as strike a convention committee, which will organize all the details.
Sheahan said it will be a week or more before that committee works out the details about the party leadership race.
“They’ll probably do so within a week or a week and a half, I guess — to hammer out some of the other timelines and nuts and bolts,” he said.
Meanwhile, online, the Liberals have been taking some shots at the Tories on Twitter over their leadership race.
“An open leadership process helps to break glass ceilings. Choice is with the people; not with connected insiders,” the Liberals posted.
A few days earlier, the official Liberal account said, “An old fashioned delegated convention of Tory Insiders is just that, old fashioned.”
It’s unclear what glass ceiling the Liberals broke with their most recent leadership race — they elected a middle-aged man — because it was the PC party that first put a woman into the role of premier.
The PC convention will be a classic delegated affair.
But Sheahan said that’s more fitting for where the Tories are at right now.
He said the Liberals were so thoroughly decimated — without active district associations, donors or membership lists — that they needed to use their leadership race to rebuild the mangled party.