There appears to be a subsection of the North Coast NDP who are so dissatisfied with the current nominee, Jennifer Rice, that they would rather see her former opponent Joanna Larson run to represent the riding as an independent MLA.
While being unhappy with the candidate your party has chosen is something most involved in any political party have experienced, there is only one thing that running Larson against Rice in May would accomplish — handing the Liberal candidate the keys to the Legislature office.
It’s a lesson to be learned from the days of the Canadian Alliance/Reform Party. Preston Manning and his right-wing crew would run against Joe Clark and his Conservative party and the result was a Liberal government because the right-wing vote was split down the centre. Since the two right-wing parties joined forces to form the Conservative Party, the result has been back-to-back-to-back governments.
Putting it into the context of the North Coast, there are enough people who would support Rice or Larson to split the left-wing vote while the Liberal candidate gathers all votes from the right or centre-right and handily walks away with the election.
Really, it’s Politics 101: The weaker your main opponent is the better chance you have to win.
And Joanna Larson, who is the president of the Prince Rupert and District Teacher’s Union, must know this. She’s smart enough to refute any claimed intention to run and took to the Twitter-verse to say the May election isn’t on her mind right now.
If she did decide to run, based on feedback on the street, she would get a good level of support from those on the left and in the NDP party itself — she’s well-connected, well-spoken and has more political experience than Rice.
But if she ran, the best she could hope for is second and she knows this too. The result would be either the NDP rallying behind Rice to beat the Christy Clark juggernaut or the right-wing taking the lion’s share of the vote.
So while those wanting Larson to run can be commended for their pro-active approach, it doesn’t make sense for those who support the ideas of the NDP to want to split the vote. Those in politics know it, and it’s why it is unlikely anything will come from this grassroots campaign.