Callaway withdraws from UCP leadership race to support Kenney

By Troy Gillard (@Troy_Gillard)
October 4, 2017 - 12:56pm Updated: October 5, 2017 - 2:46pm

And then there were three.

On the heels of last night’s debate in Red Deer, United Conservative Party leadership candidate Jeff Callaway has pulled out of the race and is putting his support behind Jason Kenney.

“Jason talks about listening to the grassroots members, and it is because of his leadership we have a United Conservative Party today,” Callaway said in a statement. “I am confident in his leadership, and his ability to set-up our party for future longevity. This is about bringing conservatives together and ensuring a strong, unified party. I firmly believe Jason will build and unify the UCP with the input of the grassroots members, and not dictate party policy.”

Callaway announced his decision at an event Wednesday morning in Red Deer. 

He says concerns over former Wildrose leader Brian Jean, who is also running for the top job, played into his decision. Callaway says Jean has a top-down management style and has lost touch with the grassroots.

Kenney was quick to praise Callaway and thank him for his support.

“Jeff is a man of integrity, depth of character and understands that unity will only work if we park the egos. Throughout the campaign Jeff has provided thoughtful and solid ideas to get Alberta back on track. The previous leadership of the party lost sight of who they serve, something that won’t happen again. With the support of Jeff, we will work to defeat the NDP in 2019, and have a government that is on the side of Albertans.”

Callaway is a former president of the Wildrose party.

Kenney, Calgary lawyer Doug Schweitzer and former Wildrose leader Brian Jean are the remaining candidates in the UCP leadership race. The winner will be named on October 28.

Schweitzer said Wednesday afternoon his campaign had raised and submitted the $95,000 required for the leadership race entry fee, making him an official candidate.

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