Wednesday morning started with an intriguing but hardly surprising story.
CBC’s David Cochrane tweeted that sources in the John Ottenheimer camp believed that Conservative leadership candidates Steve Kent and Paul Davis were working together to thwart Ottenheimer’s bid. Kent quickly replied via Twitter, writing that “I am not teamed up with any camp.”
NTV’s Mike Connors tweeted a couple of hours after Cochrane that former cabinet minister and Ottenheimer campaign co-chair Shawn Skinner told him that Kent and Davis had started “combining slates” of delegates at some delegate selection meetings. Connors also tweeted the Kent denial that he was teaming up with anyone. Connors also added Skinner’s assessment that Ottenheimer was leading the delegate count or was tied with Davis while Kent was in third place.
Bu then Connors added some detail that made it clear Kent’s denial earlier just wasn’t true.
According to Connors, Kent confirmed that he and Davis had run combined slates at some recent delegate selection meetings in order “to maximize delegate wins.”
The Telegram’s James McLeod had more information:
“I’m no king maker. I truly am in this race to win, and that necessitates strategic decisions each and every day of the campaign, in order to win as many delegates as possible,” Kent said. “In a couple of cases, it has been the best way to win it.”
McLeod quote Kent as saying that “Some nights you run a full slate. Some nights you run a partial slate. Some nights you don’t run any slate at all. That’s the nature of this.”
McLeod also quoted an unnamed source from the Davis camp who confirmed that there may have been some “overlap” in slates.
In a delegated convention, you can’t really have an “overlap” in delegates where the same person is committed to vote for different candidates. You also can’t really run a “half slate”. The goal is to pack the room full of your supporters and get as many of your delegates elected as possible. Each candidate will run a list of names equal to the number of delegates in the district.
In the end, each campaign may not win all the delegates but they might win some and that’s what matters. I a campaign isn’t running full slates, the odds of winning any delegates drops dramatically. But more to the point, the fact a campaign is not running a full slate means that the campaign is faltering badly. It means that they cannot get enough supporters in each district to flesh out a delegate slate. We are talking a half dozen or so names here, folks so that is pretty bad. And in some districts, as Kent acknowledged, his people aren’t running any delegates at all.
So things are looking bad for both Kent and Davis, since they both admitted on Wednesday they can’t compete in each district. But they are certainly a lot worse for Kent. There’s basically one reason for it: Kent’s first instinct was to do something other than tell the truth. There will be consequences. His first tweets denied the collusion and therefore were not true.
Leadership campaigns are tests of character and in this test, Kent just failed miserably.