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Monday, October 02, 2006

Bob Rae, Success Story

In May 2006, people were saying that Bob Rae would never appeal to Liberal activists across the country. "Too new to the party," they said. "The grassroots will never support him."

They were wrong. Because of the hard work of grassroots supporters from coast to coast, Bob Rae has emerged from Super Weekend in a strong second place position, with 20% support nationally. Bob Rae placed first in four provinces (PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba and British Columbia) and second in Saskatchwan. He garnered a quarter of the total vote in Quebec and has proven, across the country, that he is the only candidate with national appeal who has both the depth in each region and the ability to grow everywhere. The grassroots have rallied to Bob Rae's side. We are very pleased.

In May 2006, people were saying that Bob Rae would never fare well in Ontario. "Ontario Liberals will never support him," they said. "He will have no on-the-ground organization."

They were wrong. Sure, Bob Rae began the campaign late in the organizational game. And sure, he doesn't have as many MPs, MPPs, ex-officios and other "bigwig" endorsements as his three main rivals (3 Ontario MPs have openly supported Bob Rae, versus 5 for Stephane Dion, 10 for Gerard Kennedy and 20 for Michael Ignatieff). But over the past few weeks, our organization has ramped up, and Bob Rae was able to exceed anyone's expectations in the province. Winning over 17% of the vote, Bob's strong third place finishing in Ontario was unpredicted and indicative of the momentum he has generated over the past several weeks. In fact, Bob Rae did better in Ontario than either the third or fourth placers did nationally. Clearly, many Ontarians embrace Bob Rae's leadership potential. We are very pleased.

When all the dust settles, it will become clear to everyone that Bob Rae is the success story of this weekend. He is one of only two candidates in this race who can legitimately claim to have appeal from coast to coast, with a full, national slate of delegates. He is one of only two candidates in this race who has proven to be competitive in Ontario, Quebec and the rest of Canada. He is one of only two candidates who emerged from Super Weekend leading in four provinces.

The message from the Rae camp? A simple one, really. Bob is the only candidate with room to grow. He is the only candidate who can move ahead in each of Canada's regions. He is the only candidate with the experience, the insight, the persuasive ability and levelheadedness to lead our party to victory against Stephen Harper in the next election.

Bob Rae shares our Liberal values, he understands our country and he knows what's at stake. He is a leader. He is job ready.

And on December 2nd, I am confident Liberal delegates will come to the same conclusion as well.