Skip to content

Alberta NDP leadership hopeful Gil McGowan drops out as membership hits all time high

Alberta NDP hosted a provincial council meeting in Red Deer on Saturday to set the timeline and rules for its leadership race. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Alberta NDP leadership candidate Gil McGowan says he’s bowing out of the race to replace Rachel Notley.

McGowan says the final instalment of the $60,000 entrance fee proved to be too high a bar.

His announcement comes as the New Democratic Party says it has just over 85,000 members, more than five times its tally in December.

The party says it has never had so many members eligible to vote in its history.

Notley announced in January she would be stepping down from the job, and the field of contestants has whittled down to four.

Vying for the job are Edmonton legislature members Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse and Sarah Hoffman, Calgary MLA Kathleen Ganley, and the presumed front-runner, former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi.

MLA Rakhi Pancholi dropped out of the race in March to support Nenshi.

In a statement Monday announcing his withdrawal, McGowan, who is head of the Alberta Federation of Labour, celebrated the party’s membership sales as great news.

“This is a real testament to both the hard work and vision of all the candidates and also the strong desire among so many Albertans to build a viable alternative to the (United Conservative Party),” he said.

During a leadership debate Saturday, McGowan made a plea for donations.

“If I don’t raise another $50,000 soon, I’m toast,” he said.

Results of the leadership race are to be announced June 22.