January 10, 2018 4:36 pm
Updated: January 11, 2018 12:49 pm

Angela Kokott: Alberta Party leadership race gets interesting with addition of Stephen Mandel and Rick Fraser

WATCH ABOVE: Former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel is back in the spotlight and taking a run at the Alberta Party leadership. He joined Erin Chalmers in studio to talk about his return to politics.

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A month ago it looked like no one was going to fill the shoes of departed Alberta Party leader Greg Clark, but that all changed this week.

Not to take anything away from Kara Levis and Jacob Huffman, who announced their intentions to run for the leadership in late December, but their names don’t carry the same political weight as the latest entrants to the race – Stephen Mandel and Rick Fraser.

LISTEN: Stephen Mandel on his decision to run for leadership of the Alberta Party

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READ MORE: Stephen Mandel confirms he’s running to be Alberta Party leader

Mandel was a long-time, very popular Edmonton mayor who spent a brief time in provincial politics under Jim Prentice’s government. Fraser is a former paramedic who has been in the Alberta legislature since 2012; originally under the PC banner, then sitting as an independent when the PCs merged with the Wildrose to form the United Conservative Party (UCP) party.

The deadline for entering the race is Jan. 15, so barring any other candidates stepping forward the contest has attracted some credible options.

LISTEN: Rick Fraser explains his decision to run for Alberta Party leader

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READ MORE: Former UCP MLA Rick Fraser is running to become Alberta Party leader

I’ll put my money on Mandel, as he could threaten the NDP’s stronghold in Edmonton.

When Greg Clark made the difficult decision to step down as leader, he said it was to re-energize the party and get people talking about the Alberta party.  Safe to say, he’s succeeded in doing just that.

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