The four candidates for the leadership of the federal NDP are participating in the campaign’s last official debate in Vancouver on Sunday, little more than a week before voting begins.
Many New Democrats, however, have already weighed in, throwing their weight behind one of the contestants for the job. Ontario MPP Jagmeet Singh still has the most endorsements in the race, both from within the caucus and in the wider NDP universe of current and former legislators at the provincial and federal levels.
In a contest that has been difficult to gauge from the outside, what can those endorsements tell us about the chances each candidate has of winning it all?
As of Friday, Singh topped the list with 30 endorsements from current or former New Democrats who have held elected office, followed closely by Ontario MP Charlie Angus’s 27 endorsements, Quebec MP Guy Caron’s 19 and Manitoba MP Niki Ashton’s 11.
The contestants have been trying to one-up each other with endorsements this past week, with Singh announcing the backing of B.C. MP Peter Julian, who was a leadership candidate himself before dropping out of the race in July; Angus getting the nod from Peter Stogran, a veterans advocate who was also (briefly) a leadership contestant; and Caron announcing the endorsement of Brian Topp, who finished second to Tom Mulcair in 2012’s leadership race and who has a long history of working behind the scenes for the NDP at both the provincial and federal levels.
Among the federal caucus of 44 MPs, Singh has the most support with eight members, followed by Ashton and Caron at five each and Angus at two. About two-thirds of the caucus, excluding those who are in the running and others who must remain neutral, have decided to back one candidate or another.
Some high-profile or long-standing MPs have stayed on the sidelines, however, including B.C. MPs Nathan Cullen (the third-place finisher in 2012), Don Davies and Fin Donnelly; Alberta MP Linda Duncan; Ontario MP Irene Mathyssen; and Quebec MP Alexandre Boulerice (who initially endorsed Julian).
With voting beginning on Sept. 18 and the results of the first round of voting being announced on Oct. 1, New Democrats who have yet to publicly back a candidate have little time left to make a decision.
Caron’s endorsement momentum
Caron is trying to use endorsements to build some last-minute momentum.
The number of prominent New Democrats endorsing him has exploded in recent weeks. On July 13, Singh…