UCP membership more than doubles in two months
Party now has almost 124K members, up from 60K since June
Since Alberta's ruling United Conservative Party (UCP) began its search for a new leader — and premier of Alberta — the membership of the party has increased by two-fold.
In June, the UCP had around 60,000 members. As of Aug. 22, that number is 123,915.
In the same period, the party also raised nearly $1 million in membership dues.
For the party's president, Cynthia Moore, this increase speaks to the popularity of the UCP and it has positive implications for the party heading into an election year.
"Alberta's Conservative movement is incredibly strong, and these numbers prove it," said Moore in a release.
"We've experienced massive growth in every riding in the province and it's put us on a solid footing heading into the next election."
Even though party organizers are encouraged by the number, it still means that only a fraction of eligible Albertans — around 3.5 per cent — could determine who becomes the next premier heading into May's general election.
According to Lori Williams, an associate professor at Mount Royal University, a lot of those who joined did so to influence the outcome of the next election.
"Despite more than doubling membership numbers and generating the associated fees and contact information, many may have joined only because they wanted to participate in choosing the next premier — or trying to block their least desired choice," said Williams.
"This resembles the 'two minute Tories' we saw join the Progressive Conservatives in 2011 that resulted in Alison Redford's win."
The deadline to join or renew a membership was Aug. 12.
Ballots to all 123,915 eligible members will be mailed starting on Sept. 2 and must be returned to the accounting firm overseeing the vote by Oct. 3 at 5 p.m.
The results will be announced on Oct. 6 at an event held at BMO Centre in Calgary.