Calgary

UCP pushes Red Deer-South nomination to next year so 'high profile individual' can run

The United Conservative Party has pushed its nomination race for the riding of Red Deer-South to next year to accommodate a "high profile individual" planning to run.

Party won't comment on individual's identity at this time

The UCP is pushing its nomination contest in Red Deer-South to next year to allow a 'high profile individual' to run. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

The United Conservative Party has pushed its nomination race for the riding of Red Deer-South to next year to accommodate a "high profile individual" planning to run.

"This decision is not a reflection on the state of readiness of the [Constituency Association] or of the party," read a memo sent by UCP executive director Janice Harrington to the board of the riding's constituency association on Friday.

"There are a number of highly qualified individuals who have stated their interest in the nomination … However, due to the interest of a high profile individual to seek the nomination, as well as the Christmas holiday season that is rapidly approaching, the party has decided not to hold the nomination event until early next year."

The letter said the decision was made to give the most qualified people a chance to run as possible, to accommodate contestants who have professional responsibilities that prevent them from running earlier in the election cycle.

The UCP said the party won't be providing further comment at this time.

UCP Leader Jason Kenney has called for the election to be held in the first week of March, but Premier Rachel Notley has remained coy about whether her government will call an early election or table a provincial budget.

According to legislation, the election must be held in March, April or May of 2019.

The letter says the association will ensure the nomination does not conflict with the Canada Games, which Red Deer is hosting in February.

Read the memo to the members of the board below:

With files from Helen Pike

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