Greg Clark and Edmonton radio host not seeking Alberta Party leadership

Alberta Party leader Greg Clark speaking to about 400 people at the sold-out annual general meeting in Red Deer, Alta. Saturday, November 18, 2017. Dave Carels, Global News

An Edmonton radio host is quelling rumours he’s considering a run for leadership of the Alberta Party, just as Greg Clark announced he will not enter the  leadership race.

Clark, who had served as the party’s leader since 2013, stepped down in November in order to build some excitement around the party. Citing family reasons, Clark said Thursday it would be difficult to be away from his young kids if he was leader of a party in an election year.

“She said, ‘dad – I was talking to my sister. We don’t mind you being MLA but we want you home more and we don’t want you to run for leader.’ And that, that made my mind up right there.”

Clark admits opening up the leadership presented an opportunity to have a frank conversation with his family.

READ MORE: Alberta Party hopes leadership race draws new members, big-name contenders

“When you’re given an opportunity to reflect and think about what works for our family at this exact moment, this is the decision we came to.”

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LISTEN: Greg Clark on the Ryan Jespersen Show on 630 CHED

Despite not running for the leadership, Clark will remain the MLA for Calgary-Elbow and plans on running again in the 2019 provincial election. With Clark’s announcement, there are currently no candidates for the Alberta Party leadership race but he’s not too worried about that.

“I think we’re gonna see some candidates come out very soon. We have until Jan.15 to see candidates come forward.”

READ MORE: Alberta Party releases leadership election rules, pushes back vote

One of those candidates will not be 630 CHED host Ryan Jespersen.

Rumours have been flying that Jespersen was considering a run for the leadership spot but, on his show Friday morning, he put those to rest saying it was a “big decision, but an easy decision.”

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“I’m not convinced it’s the right move for me personally and, quite frankly, friends, I’m in love with what I’m doing right now,” he said. “I appreciate all of the interest, I appreciate all of the inquires.”

Jespersen added he had conversations with several people and “engaged citizens” about what the Alberta Party’s potential could be.

“I share their interest. I’m very curious to see what kind of a player the Alberta Party could be across Alberta’s political landscape.

“I think it has the potential to be a formidable player. I think that the Alberta party – under the right leadership, with the right organization, adequate fundraising – could really, really fare well in the next provincial election.”

LISTEN: Ryan Jespersen addresses those rumours he’s considering a run for the Alberta Party leadership

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No matter who wins, Clark doesn’t expect fellow Alberta Party MLA Karen McPherson or himself to step down and force a byelection to allow the new leader a chance to enter the legislature.

“We have not had that conversation but it would surprise me very much if one of us would step down. I think it’s much more likely that we would stay on through the election and let the leader run in a constituency of their choosing.”

READ MORE: Calgary MLA Karen McPherson joins Alberta Party after leaving NDP

The Alberta Party will elect its new leader on Feb. 27.

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