P.E.I.’s Progressive Conservative party has more active members set to vote in the upcoming leadership convention compared to the previous election of a new leader in 2017.
Following the close of new membership sales Friday, the number of current members stood at 5,762, up from about 3,400 members as of Nov. 1, 2018, when the leadership race began.
An additional 2,628 members remain eligible to renew their memberships and vote in the leadership convention in Charlottetown Feb. 9. If they all choose to renew their membership it would provide the party with 8,390 members eligible to vote.
James Aylward won the party’s leadership race on Oct. 20, but of the 6,600 eligible party voters, only 3,200 had up-to-date memberships. Aylward resigned in September 2018, citing an inability to make a strong enough connection with Islanders.
The party reported shortly before the leadership convention held in February 2015 that active members had tripled to almost 7,000 over three months. That race was won by Rob Lantz who failed to win a seat in the provincial election three months later and eventually resigned as leader.
In the most recent CRA poll in December, the Progressive Conservatives were trailing well behind the Green and Liberal parties on P.E.I.
In a first for an Island political party, voters will have the option of making their choice for leader electronically, either by phone or Internet, using secure PIN numbers.
Voting will be ranked by ballot.
Kevin Arsenault, Allan Dale, Shawn Driscoll, Dennis King and Sarah Stewart-Clark are vying for the leadership.