Alberta NDP leadership contenders look to Calgary

Alberta’s Progressive Conservation Party’s leadership campaign has garnered much attention, but another party is also looking for a new leader.

NDP leadership debate in Calgary set for Sept. 17

All three leadership candidates for Alberta's New Democratic Party are from Edmonton. (LinkedIn/Handout/Twitter)

Alberta’s New Democratic Party is trying to grow support while it finds a new leader to replace Brian Mason, but one political analyst says the party still faces serious challenges in Calgary.

In Edmonton, recent polls suggest support of more than 20 per cent. But the party is weak just about everywhere else.

"In Calgary, basically they are the walking wounded,” said Mount Royal University political analyst David Taras. “They aren't even in the debate because their positions are seen by many Calgarians as repugnant."

All three candidates for leader were in Calgary on Sunday for the Pride Parade. (@AlbertaNDP/Twitter)

Adding to the NDP's Calgary problems is the fact that the three candidates for leader are all from Edmonton: union leader Rod Loyola, MLA David Eggen and MLA Rachel Notley.

All three were in Calgary this past weekend for the Pride Parade.

Taras says Notley is likely the frontrunner because she is the daughter of former leader Grant Notley.

"As soon as you get out of Edmonton, I would say most Calgarians couldn't pick her out of a lineup at this point. Now that might change.”

Candidates have a chance to warm up to Calgary voters with a debate on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Barnsworth Theatre.

Two NDP MLAs were elected in Calgary in 1986 and 1989. The city has shut out the party since then.