Leadership on the line – Metro US

Leadership on the line

Two speeches may be prepared — but only one is preferred.

With one sleepless night remaining until the Wildrose Alliance party elects a new leader, Danielle Smith and Mark Dyrholm both admit it’s a tight race and there will be no clear winner until the last ballot is cast.

“You have to go into this writing two speeches: One is conceding defeat, and the other is celebrating. So you hope for the best, but prepare for the worst,” said Smith, a former Canadian Federation of Independent Business director.

“It’s really exciting though … It’s been a long time coming and after Saturday we will know who the leader will be.”

Dyrholm, a Calgary chiropractor, said while the race is neck-and-neck, the winner may be whoever gets the most voters out to the ballot box.

“And after the battle is done, we’ll have to get behind the winner and build on the strength of the campaigns,” he added.

“It’s an exciting time because the party is not just an opposition party; we’re making strides to become a legitimate government-in-waiting.”

Chaldeans Mensah, a political scientist at Grant MacEwan University, said while the race may be close, both potential leaders could shape the future of the party in differing ways.

“I think Danielle Smith is a bit of an unconventional right-wing conservative and Mark Dyrholm is by all accounts a very fiscal conservative candidate,” Mensah said. “They are very different.”

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