Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman is kicking off her campaign for the Liberal Party leadership at a May 15 BBQ at the Rossdale Community Hall. The kick off will take place right after the conclusion of a constituency nomination meeting where Ms. Blakeman will be acclaimed as the Liberal candidate in her riding.
Ms. Blakeman was first elected in 1997 and announced her bid for the party leadership not long after current leader David Swann announced his resignation in February 2011. The Liberal Party released the rules for their leadership campaign this week and members will choose a new leader on September 10, 2011.
The only other candidate to announce interest in the contest is former Edmonton-Meadowlark PC MLA Raj Sherman, who joined the Liberal Party in March 2011.
The next Liberal leader will face many pressing challenges, most urgently to find a way to pull together a party which has fallen behind the other opposition parties, namely the Wildrose Alliance, in public support and fundraising over the past year. With a provincial election potentially being called as early as November 2011, the new leader will not have time on their side.