Former Calgary MP Jim Prentice has picked up his nomination papers in the race to be Alberta's next premier.

He was joined this morning by Calgary MLA Ric McIver, who announced recently he was resigning from cabinet to seek the nomination.

"It's official! Our first two potential candidates have come and picked up the nomination papers," tweeted the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta Thursday morning.

Prentice also tweeted he is off to collect the signatures needed for his nomination. According to his staff, Prentice will officially launch his campaign next week.

Both candidates had to deliver a $20,000 non-refundable deposit.

Federal Tories Alberta

Former federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice picked up his nomination papers this morning at the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

They must pay another $30,000 when nominations close at the end of the month and deliver 500 signatures from party members endorsing their nomination.

There must be 100 names each from five regions: Edmonton, Calgary, north, south and central.

Jobs Minister Thomas Lukaszuk has said he may run as well, but has yet to confirm. Candidates must file their papers by May 30.

According to the party constitution, a leadership vote must be held no later than six months after a leader’s resignation.

Dave Hancock is serving as premier and interim party leader until a new leader is selected.

The first vote takes place on Sept. 6. If no candidate receives more than 50 per cent of the vote on the first ballot, a second vote between the top two candidates will take place on Sept. 20.

This will be the first time electronic voting options — such as online, mobile and telephone — will be available.

Tickets are available to PC party members for the official 2014 leadership launch at the Ramada Edmonton Hotel and Conference Centre on June 2.

"It will be your first chance to hear all of the candidates together at the same time as they outline their perspectives for the future of this province," said the party in a release.