We've spent the first year of the campaign focused on Conservative held ridings in which the 2008 margin of victory was less than 10%. In most of those ridings, there's a clearly identifiable party with the best chance of success. We identified 32 ridings cross the country. Anyone who's taken a close look at the Catch 22 list of target ridings will notice that there's one significant gap - Alberta.
Our campaign plan has always considered that if Catch 22 "caught on", we would look at expanding our campaign. For another, the Cons have identified a number of opposition ridings where they can split the vote and add to their caucus.
We've identified two ways in which we can expand.
1) Defensive campaigns to bolster vulnerable opposition ridings
We are pleased to announce that we are now identifying defensive campaigns in a number of opposition-held ridings - beginning in Alberta. Edmonton-Strathcona held by the NDP's Linda Duncan, is the only riding in Alberta held by the opposition and it will be a priority. The Harperites will be pulling out all the stops to bring blue hegemony back to the province because in their view, voters from other parties do not deserve any representation in Ottawa. In 2008, Liberals for Linda and other initiatives helped ensure that vote splitting could be overcome.
We have set up a Catch 22 group now for Edmonton-Strathcona. Please consider joining.
2) Look at harder to win Conservative ridings where the margin of victory was 10 - 20%
While we can't spread ourselves too thin and need to ensure that there's a chance of success in any riding that we identify as potential take-aways from the Cons, it will take more than 22, or even 32, ridings to deny the Harper government of another minority. From the start, supporters have suggested a number of harder to win Con ridings but we have stayed focused on building our "first tier" of ridings. Until now.
There are two opportunities that have been identified in Alberta - Edmonton East and Edmonton Centre. We'd like to hear what you have to say about these ridings as we consider adding them our list and creating online groups. These are both "long shots" in which two questions need to be asked. Can the incumbent be defeated? If so, is there a clearly identifiable opposition candidate who can carry the day? (We'll be making a separate announcement for two BC ridings from this category that we are adding to our list - Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission and Saanich-Gulf Islands.
Stay tuned and help spread the word in Edmonton.