Candidates have until end-of-day March 15 to enter the race, ahead of the June 22 counting of the ballots and naming of the party’s new leader

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Tuesday marks 10 days until the field will be set in the race to replace Rachel Notley as leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP) and leader of the province’s Official Opposition.

The race opened Feb. 5, with four candidates — all of the women, and all of them sitting MLAs — vying for the gig.

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The campaign is still in its early stages yet, with 50 days to go until the April 22 deadline to sell memberships, and 16 weeks to go until the June 22 vote and announcement of the winner and new leader.

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Here’s a look at where the leadership race stands as of late Monday.

Who’s in? 

Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse
Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse announces her candidacy for the NDP in the constituency of Edmonton-Rutherford during a news conference in Edmonton on April 24, 2022. Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia

Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse: Calahoo Stonehouse is the latest to officially declare for the race, launching her campaign on Feb. 24.

The rookie MLA has emphasized the environment in early announcements, particularly the need to do more to prepare for drought.

The representative for Edmonton-Rutherford, who identifies as Mohawk and Cree from the Michel First Nation, told The Canadian Press she hopes to tap into the province’s diverse population during her campaign.

Sarah Hoffman
Sarah Hoffman, MLA for Edmonton-Glenora and former deputy premier and minister of health, officially launches her campaign for the leadership of the Alberta NDP on Feb. 11, 2024, in Edmonton. Photo by Greg Southam /Postmedia

Sarah Hoffman: Edmonton-Glenora MLA Sarah Hoffman entered the race a week after it started with a stated focus on improving health care, battling climate change, and addressing the housing crisis.

Hoffman told Postmedia that had her party focused more on those elements in last May’s election, it could have made “a big” vote difference in Calgary ridings that the party narrowly lost.

The former deputy premier and health minister has drawn endorsements from former party leader Ray Martin, Edmonton Coun. Michael Janz, as well as current Edmonton-area MLAs Nathan Ip, Marlin Schmidt, and Lori Sigurdson.

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Kathleen Ganley
Alberta NDP leader candidate Kathleen Ganley after a news conference in downtown Calgary on Feb. 19, 2024. Photo by Jim Wells /Postmedia

Kathleen Ganley: Kathleen Ganley, the MLA for Calgary-Mountain View and former justice minister, was the first to enter the race.

She’s stressed the economy in her early messaging, and pitched income tax relief for low-earners as well as increasing the minimum wage and tying it to the rate of inflation.

She’s also demanded an inquiry into inactive and orphaned well liabilities and also an overhaul of the Alberta Energy Regulator.

Ganley has been endorsed by former party leaders Raj Pannu and Brian Mason as well as at least seven current New Democrat MLAs.

Rakhi Pancholi
Alberta NDP MLA Rakhi Pancholi, in Calgary on Feb. 8, 2024, has announced she is running for the leadership of the Alberta NDP. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jeff McIntosh

Rakhi Pancholi: Two-term Edmonton-Whitemud MLA Rakhi Pancholi entered the race with a challenge to one of the outgoing leader’s signature policies.

She’s pledged to scrap the consumer carbon tax, a move supported by Calahoo Stonehouse and Hoffman, while Ganley argued the carbon levy is a federal policy.

Pancholi has also pitched implementing full-day kindergarten and expanded school nutrition programs, and has also mused about splitting the provincial NDP from its federal counterpart.

She’s served as critic for education and children’s affairs and has drawn endorsements from sitting MLAs Nagwan Al-Guneid, Rhiannon Hoyle, and Marie Renaud.

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Who’s out?

David Shepherd
David Shepherd, Alberta NDP candidate for Edmonton-City Centre, discusses the Alberta NDP Family Health Teams plan during a news conference outside the Synergy Women’s Wellness Centre in Sherwood Park on April 21, 2023. Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia

David Shepherd: Edmonton-Centre MLA David Shepherd filed his leadership papers and still appears on the Elections Alberta list of candidates, but announced on Feb. 9 that he would not be pursuing the role, citing ongoing health challenges.

Who’s still considering? 

Gil McGowan
Gil McGowan following a news conference in Calgary on Oct. 12, 2022. Photo by Jim Wells /Postmedia

Gil McGowan: Longtime Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan could soon enter the race, according to political blogger David Climenhaga, who cites direct social media messages to supporters.

McGowan sought office in 2015 as a federal NDP candidate in Edmonton-Centre. His name does not yet appear on the list of official candidates from Elections Alberta.

Naheed Nenshi
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley was endorsed by former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi during a campaign stop in Calgary on May 26, 2023. Nenshi says he’s considering entering the leadership race to replace Notley. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia file

Naheed Nenshi: Three-term former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi has also been rumoured to be mulling a bid. He’s been outspoken against the United Conservative government and gave a campaign-style speech at a Feb. 4 rally against the province’s upcoming policies on children and LGBTQ+ rights.

But, since then he’s stayed largely out of the spotlight, though Postmedia columnist Don Braid reports Nenshi will enter the fray next Monday, March 11.

Should he decide to run, he would need to secure a special application if he has not held a party membership since last Aug. 5, as required by the party’s rules.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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