The Alberta Progressive Conservatives have found themselves in an unusual position this election campaign: They lost the fundraising war.
Wildrose announced Sunday it had raised $2.37-million since the campaign began. The PCs scrambled to follow suit, announcing later in the day they'd raised $1.8-million in the same time period.
Wildrose also won the battle for small donations, which is seen by some as a measure of grass-roots support. The party drew in $786,302.27 in donations of less than $375, above which a donor's name must be disclosed. The PCs, meanwhile, raised $276,510 in such donations, the vast majority of it raised online.
"I'm thrilled with the support we've received from everyday Albertans," Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said in a press release.
The PCs were always a fundraising force in Alberta politics, until Wildrose came along to give it competition. Last year, the Wildrose party raised $2.7-million, shattering its own record for opposition fundraising. The PCs raised $3.4-million last year, in addition to millions more donated during the party's leadership race. Many major companies are now donating to both.
The PCs had pledged to release their donor lists throughout the campaign, but hadn't done so until the last day, all but forced into doing so after Wildrose released its own. PC party president Bill Smith hinted that early fundraising results may have been low.
"Donations to the party have picked up sharply in the last 10 days as people got more engaged in the election," Mr. Smith said in his party's press release. The last 10 days also included a series of gaffes that had Wildrose on the defensive.
Albertans go to the polls Monday, and the province has been awash in print advertisements, political signs, radio ads and robocalls – the donations at work.
Neither Ms. Smith nor PC leader Alison Redford are among their party's identified donors.