The embattled premier is gone, jumping before she was pushed.
While the Alberta Progressive Conservative caucus chose Deputy Premier Dave Hancock to be their interim leader, the names of those who would be vying to succeed Alison Redford permanently are starting to be bruited about.
The potential contenders could be divided in three categories.
The caucus heavyweights
A number of provincial cabinet ministers are likely candidates.
Finance Minister Doug Horner would be a front-runner on most lists. He just delivered Alberta’s first balanced budget in seven years and is a past leadership candidate, coming third in the 2011 race that crowned Ms. Redford.
While Mr. Horner is a four-term veteran MLA, another high-profile cabinet member, Municipal Affairs Minister Ken Hughes, is a newcomer to the legislature. Mr. Hughes, like others in caucus, might be handicapped because of his close ties to the departing premier however.
Feisty Jobs Minister Thomas Lukaszuk and Justice Minister Jonathan Denis, have also been mentioned.
The outside help
Considering the party's stormy situation, someone outside caucus could be bring a healing presence.
Former federal Conservative minister Jim Prentice is a respected figure, once one of the most capable members of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet. Now a senior executive at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Mr. Prentice was long thought to be a potential successor to Mr. Harper.
Brian Jean, the former Conservative MP for Fort McMurray, recently resigned his seat but said at the time he wasn't ruling out a return to politics.
The names of two former provincial ministers are also often mentioned: Jim Dinning, who was provincial treasurer in the 1990s, and Gary Mar, who lost to Ms. Redford in the 2011 leadership race.
Mr. Mar, who is now the province's trade representative in Hong Kong, was in the news recently when it was revealed that he earned well over $300,000, making him Alberta's highest-paid diplomat.
From the municipal world
Another name being bandied about is Stephen Mandel, the former Edmonton mayor who stepped down last year after three terms. As for Alberta's most famous civic politician, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi met reporters after Ms. Redford's resignation to laud her as a good person who was undercut by backroom politics.
Asked if he would run, Mr. Nenshi said “Seriously?" then chuckled.
However, he wouldn't close the door and in his remarks alluded not just to his obligations toward Calgarians but all Albertans.
"I can tell you regardless of whatever role I’m in personally, I will take a very serious part in this next election," he said, "always fighting for the interests of Calgarians and Albertans.”
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