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National Union Party (Rainier) leadership election
October 20, 2016
Richard Baron Daniel Higgins
Nominee Richard Baron Daniel Lee
Home state Idaho Oregon
Electoral College 534 405
Parliamentary Party 14 22
Party Membership 42,753 21,580
Local Representatives 262 132


John Griffin Samamtha Herreal
Nominee John Griffin Samamtha Herreal
Home state Idaho Cascadia
Electoral College 294 117
Parliamentary Party 18 4
Party Membership 9,287 4,626
Local Representatives 115 80

The 2017 National Union Party leadership election was held on the 20th October 2017 to elect the 10th leader of the NUP. It was be the 5th election of a NUP leader and the 2nd to use an electoral college system.

The election was won by Richard Baron who got a majority of members and local representative votes, albeit not winning a majority of the parliamentary party. Following the election contender Daniel Lee announced he and several other centrist MP's would split from the NUP to create a new party, the Rainian Progressive Conservative Association.

Background

In the run-up to the 2017 House of Councillors election due to low polling there was speculation that NUP leader and Prime Minister Andrew Clarkson would face a leadership challenge. This speculation was fuelled following the resignation of cabinet member Daniel Lee in 2014 following proposals by the government to restrict civil liberties and after several back benchers such as Heidi Crapo and Richard Baron called for the government to go in a more right-wing direction. No challenge was launched however, a feat widely attribute due to the expectation that the NUP would lose the next election.

In early 2017 however the rise of the right-wing Reform party led to talks of the possibility of the formation of a NUP-Reform coalition forming the next government. This led to talk of a leadership bid by right-wing MP Richard Baron against Clarkson as Baron led opinion polls as the most favoured NUP candidate by its members. Baron however stated he was "100% behind the Prime Minister".

The 2017 election was a devastating defeat for the party which got under 25% of the vote for the first time in its history going from 59 to 35 seats. This resulted in Clarkson to resign from the NUP leadership and be replaced by deputy leader Mary Towers in an interim capacity until a new leader could be elected.

Electoral process

The leader of the National Union Party is elected by an electoral college of 1,350 members, with the system having been introduced in 1996 by Gerald Fairbrook. The electoral votes are allocated as such -

  • 540 (40%) of votes to the NUP parliamentary party (MP's and Senators).
  • 405 (30%) of votes to NUP local representatives (provincial assembly MP's, including official affiliate parties and municipal councillors)
  • 405 (305) of votes to ordinary NUP members.

As of 2017 the NUP has 35 MP's and 23 Senators (giving it 38 members of the parliamentary party) 78,000 members, 294 local councillors and 216 provincial assembly members, plus 79 provincial assembly members of official affiliate parties (Saskatchewan Party and the United Conservative Party).

Candidates

Name Home province Most recent position(s) Announced candidacy Notes
Richard Baron
Richard Baron
Alberta Under-Secretary for Business Regulation (2015-2017) 28 August Considered to be the preferred candidate of the right wing of the NUP, endorsing national conservative positions.
Daniel Higgins
Daniel Lee
Oregon Minister for Industry and Commerce (2012-2014) 3 September Considered to be the main "red tory" of the race, endorsing one-nation conservative principles.
John Griffin
John Griffin
Idaho Minister for Justice and Penal Reform (2009-2017) 4 September Widely seen as the candidate of the party establishment supporting economic liberalism and the Christian right.
Samamtha Herreal
Samamtha Herreal
Cascadia Minister for Industry and Commerce (2014-2017) 6 September Considered to be on the New Right-libertarian candidate.

When the contest was announced interim leader Mary Towers announced she would contest the leadership, having strong support amongst MP's. However following large losses for the NUP during the Rainian House of Senators election, 2017 Towers withdrew her candidacy endorsing John Griffin for party leader.

Results

Candidate Parliamentary Party Members Local public representatives Electoral College
Votes  % Electors Votes  % Electors Votes  % Electors Electors Result
Richard Baron 14 24.14% 132 42,753 54.64% 221 262 44.48% 181 534
39.56%
Daniel Lee 22 37.93% 204 21,580 27.58% 111 132 22.41% 90 405
30%
John Griffin 18 31.03% 167 9,287 11.87% 48 115 19.52% 79 294
21.78%
Samamtha Herreal 4 6.9% 37 4,626 5.91% 25 80 13.58% 55 117
8.67%
Total 58 100% 540 78,246 100% 405 589 100% 405 1,350
100%

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