Saturday, December 02, 2006

DION SURGE

What an exciting convention it has turned out to be and we still don't know what is going to happen, and who is going to end up winning. The third ballot, as I see it, is going to be the ballgame. Michael Ignatieff, to me, is dead on his feet; the only question is whether Bob Rae or Stephane Dion emerges as leader of the party.

The big news was that Gerard Kennedy bailed out after the second ballot and endorsed Dion. That was a huge move because Kennedy has about 884 votes, and Dion has 974. That's a huge bloc of votes and it will be enough to vault Dion past Rae, and possibly even Ignatieff, too, if they all end up voting for Dion.

Rae is in deep trouble. He picked up Ken Dryden, and his 219 supporters are mostly going to Rae. The problem is a huge chunk of Kennedy supporters are supporting Dion. Rae has 1132 votes on the second ballot and is poised to grow on the third ballot, but he is only 158 votes ahead of Dion. It looks like a squeaker on the third ballot and it looks like Dion way well take Rae out, and set up a Dion-Iggy final ballot.

As for Ignatieff, he has no momentum at all. None of the other candidates have endorsed him, and he only received 1481 votes; not much of a gain. I thought that in a final-3 scenario that Iggy needed something like 43% of the vote in his corner to have any sort of chance on a final ballot against anyone. But it's clear he will be nowhere near that. This gaffe-filled campaign is in enormous trouble at this moment.

The other thing is that Robert Fife is reporting that most of the Rae supporters aren't going to go to Ignatieff under any circumstances. There was a supposed meeting on the floor where Ignatieff and Rae met one another and shook hands, but that was more of a show of party unity than any sort of deal. A lot of people think that if Rae is kicked out as the low man on the third ballot that he will simply endorse no one.

But I think Dion is in really good shape right now. It's all going to come down to the third ballot and whether Rae can hold Dion off. If he can, Rae can win the leadership. But I don't think he can do it. I think Dion's in a position to surge past Rae on the next ballot and end Rae's chances. This leadership is Dion's for the taking right now.

And it looks as if the Liberals will be out of the hall in time to see the Leafs take on the Habs down the street.

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