Last night, apparently 44,000 Ontario Liberals voted to choose their riding's delegates to the leadership convention in two weeks, ostensibly for one of the six candidates still in the race.
Overall, it appears that Sandra Pupatello captured the most delegates last night, though it wasn't exactly an overwhelming victory; Pupatello's campaign had elected 504 delegates to the election, 27.4%, compared to Kathleen Wynne's 463 (25.2%). Gerard Kennedy was a distant third with 257 delegates (14%), then Harinder Takhar with 244 (13.3%), Charles Sousa with 198 (10.8%), and Eric Hoskins with 104 (5.7%).
From this, in addition to the ex-officio delegates, I can make something of a prediction for the first-ballot results:
Pupatello: ~800 delegates (30-35%)
Wynne: ~700 delegates (25-30%)
Kennedy: ~400 delegates (15-18%)
Takhar: ~300 delegates (12%)
Sousa: ~250 delegates (10%)
Hoskins: ~150 delegates (5-10%)
To explain a bit, I feel that Pupatello is likely to get over 30% support on the first ballot, or at least very close to it; she may be neck-in-neck in the riding delegates, but she does have a lot more ex-officio, read "establishment," support than Wynne does. A lot of the current caucus is supportive of her, and so are a lot of ex-MPPs and so on. She'll have the most growth once those ex-officios are added in.
Wynne, however, does stand a good chance of catching up at least a bit, as she does have some ex-officio support. I wouldn't be surprised to see her come over 30% either, though it is more of a stretch.
Based on Kennedy's past inability to really grow during delegated conventions, and his lacklustre performance so far, he's not going to grow too much from his delegate standings. He'll likely stay in third, though, which is always an important position to come from.
Takhar and Sousa won't see much growth, as I don't think there are too many ex-officios interested in their campaigns. Hoskins, meanwhile, does appear to have some pull from ex-officios, despite his poor performance with riding delegates. Hence, I give him a bit of a range to work with.
It sets it up to be an interesting race. Sadly though, I won't be attending as a delegate - and maybe not at all, depending upon whether or not I can be accredited as a blogger for the race (here's hoping).
Bringing it down to the local level, however, I found last night's delegate votes for Burlington interesting. Half of our delegates will be for the Wynne campaign, with second place going to Pupatello; in 1996, Gerard Kennedy captured all delegates for Burlington, according to some of the folks who were involved back then. This time, he has two. Speaks for itself.
I'm glad that Wynne has the great shot at winning that she does, though as I've said before, Pupatello would've likely been my second choice anyways. Overall, I'm pleased. Sad that I didn't get the chance to take part in what will likely be the last race of its kind among Liberal circles in Ontario - because I doubt we'll do another delegate convention given how many have switched over in the past decade, including the federal party. At least, I hope its the last...