Monday, September 25, 2006

Fry Goes to Rae: Whoop-di-do

This morning, Hedy Fry announced that she was dropping out of the race for the Liberal leadership, and that she was supporting Bob Rae.

That she dropped out of the Liberal leadership race should not be surprising. She has no funding, no caucus support, and virtually no ex officio support. She has been widely expected to gain fewer delegates than MHF, despite the fact that the latter has held no elected position and no opportunity to build the political relationships necessary to have a strong campaign. This is, of course, as much a testament to MHF's strong character, intelligence, and political savvy as it is to Fry's disastrous candidacy, but it remains that Fry has been in the House for a number of years, and her gaffe-prone past has not been ameliorated through impressive political contributions.

So if it's not surprising that she dropped out, how much of a gain is it for Rae? When Bevilacqua dropped out, Rae got a boost of right-wing legitimacy, which helped, despite the fact that most of Bevilacqua's supporters and ex officios went to Ignatieff. When Bennett dropped out, he got a prominent Ontairo liberal from the opposite end of the spectrum, and that will probably help him pick up a few extra delegates.

But what does Rae get with Fry? Fry not only has no funding, delegates, or significant ex officio support to contribute, she is also seen by the general population as being a little odd. She isn't exactly an MP, as was Carolyn Bennett, who commands a lot of respect. She might be an intelligent woman, but the public perception of her is that she's a radical wild card without positive and substantive political thoughts.

One need look no further than today's media to see how little support Fry commands. Take the EKOS poll, which Linda Diebel discusses in the Toronto Star today. Of over 1,000 people surveyed, each of whom had the opportunity to pick Fry as their first, second, or third choice, not a single person ranked her in their top three. Not a single one out of over 3,000 opportunities. That is a major signal that she commands little support.

To that end, while there are certainly other reasons for viewing Rae as the primary challenger to Ignatieff, I wouldn't consider Fry's support to be any help in this one. Virtually all of Ignatieff's caucus members--as well as Rae's caucus supporters--command more support and will yield more delegates than will Fry.


Blogger Neo Conservative said...

In other Liberal Leadership news, the deafening hail of popping champagne corks was heard in the PMO this morning.

11:52 AM  

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