January 16, 2018 12:30 am
Updated: January 16, 2018 4:47 pm

Alberta Party announces leadership debates as race to replace Greg Clark officially gets underway

Alberta Party leadership candidates Rick Fraser (left), Kara Levis (centre) and Stephen Mandel (right).

Fraser (Global News), Levis (CREDIT: http://karalevis.ca/), Mandel (CREDIT:http://mandelforab.ca/)

The deadline for people wishing to join the race to become the new leader of the Alberta Party passed on Monday night as the party announced dates for leadership debates and “meet and greet” events its three candidates will take part in across the province.

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The three people officially running to replace former party leader Greg Clark — who stepped down from his post in November — are: Rick Fraser, an MLA who spent the majority of his political career with the Progressive Conservative and United Conservative parties, Kara Levis, a Calgary lawyer and co-founder of an organization that encourages women to get involved in politics, and former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel, who also served as health minister the last time the Progressive Conservatives held power.

READ MORE: Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark resigns, triggers leadership race

Jacob Huffman, who according to the Elections Alberta website had registered to run for the party, never submitted a package and therefore was never considered for the leadership campaign, a party official said.

The party also waived the one-year party membership requirement for Fraser and Mandel in order for them to be approved as candidates.

“We are incredibly excited to have three high-quality candidates with diverse political backgrounds and experiences. Whether you lean left, right, or centre; whether you’re a longtime Alberta Party member or new to our team; whether you’re a seasoned politico or newly engaged, we are confident there’s someone here for you,” party president Rhiannon Hoyle said in a news release Monday night. “These candidates will bring an exciting platform for the future of Alberta and the Alberta Party, and I can’t wait to see them in the debates,” concluded Hoyle.

Over the next three-and-a-half weeks, the candidates will square off in two debates in Alberta’s largest cities: in Edmonton on Jan. 24 and in Calgary on Feb. 8.

Meet-and-greet events will be held in the following cities:

· Calgary on Jan. 16

· Red Deer on Jan. 18

· Grande Prairie on Jan. 25

· Lethbridge on Jan. 30

· Medicine Hat on Feb. 1

· St. Albert on Feb. 6

Members will be able to begin voting on preferential ballots online on Feb. 25 and the results will be announced in Edmonton on Feb. 27.

Running to become leader will cost candidates $10,000 each, of which $5,000 is refundable with good behaviour, the party has said. People who aren’t Alberta Party members have until Feb. 12 to become members and be qualified to vote. The leadership vote will abide by a “one-person, one-vote” principle.

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

For a commplete list of the Alberta Party’s leadership race rules, click here.

Watch below: Some videos from Global News’ ongoing coverage of the Alberta Party leadership race.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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