There is much speculation that Tim Hudak's campaign for the Ontario PC leadership has fallen flat, Frank Klees has signed up the most members and Christine Elliott is best positioned to win the race. I have absolutely no idea who has sold how many memberships in the race. Stephen Taylor - who everyone was at least initially relying on for their numbers - is as well-positioned a Conservative blogger as there is, and I have no reason to question his motives. Of course, I have to presume Taylor is basing his numbers almost entirely on information from the four campaigns. That doesn't make the information untrue, but leadership campaigns sometimes, well, exaggerate their numbers just slightly. Consider the following Globe story from July 15, 2006: Membership fever
The federal Liberal leadership race has doubled the party's membership, and candidates are starting to look for people who will elect delegates to support them at the party's convention in December.
Membership has jumped to about 184,000, the party reported yesterday, up from about 80,000 at the campaign's kickoff in April.
The numbers are far lower than those of the campaign that elected Paul Martin leader and prime minister. At that time, the party had about 500,000 members, although about half of those were so-called lifetime members from New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador. A more accurate number would have been about 250,000, or about 70,000 more than the current number.
The province with the largest membership is Ontario at 76,900, up from about 34,000. Quebec's numbers come in at 37,570, up from about 15,000 in January.
Candidates have made claims and counterclaims about their sales, with some officials saying Toronto MP Joe Volpe sold the largest number of new memberships. Mr. Volpe's campaign recently said it recruited 35,000 new members, which would constitute more than a third.
Party sources said yesterday that Michael Ignatieff is the front-runner, while no candidate appears to have clear second-place status. Yesterday, British Columbia Liberal Party of Canada president Jamie Elmhirst said candidate Bob Rae signed up about 3,000 of the province's 11,000 new members.
I'm not comparing any candidate in the current PC race to anyone in the 2006 Liberal race, but I am going to wait until actual numbers come out from the party - or a few more sources have their say - before handicapping the race.
As an aside, it should be noted that pretty much every single fact in the story pasted above turned out to be incorrect (neither Volpe nor Ignatieff sold the most memberships and the provincial numbers were also off).