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Gil McGowan drops out of NDP leadership race, unable to raise $60,000 fee

Another Alberta NDP leadership hopeful has dropped out of the race.
Gil McGowan and Naheed Nenshi debate one-on-one at the 2024 leadership race debate in Calgary on May 11. McGowan announced his withdrawal from the race Monday morning.

Gil McGowan is not going to be the next leader of the NDP party.

The former journalist turned labour leader announced his withdrawal from the Alberta NDP leadership race via a Monday morning email after he failed to raise a required $60,000 fee.

“As the candidate who has been a party member for the longest time (38 years!) you can rest assured that I will continue to fight the UCP’s unacceptable agenda both now and in the next election,” wrote McGowan.

“I just won’t be doing it as party leader.”

McGowan took part in Saturday’s Calgary leadership debate, where he traded barbs with fellow candidates. He spoke at length about the importance of reaching out to people outside of the party’s tent, but also included a plea for donations.

“One final message — there’s a big fee deadline coming, and if I don’t raise another $50,000 soon, I’m toast,” said McGowan.

McGowan is the second candidate to drop out of the race, after Rakhi Pancholi withdrew on March 26. Unlike Pancholi, who threw her backing behind former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, McGowan hasn’t yet endorsed a candidate.

“My central message in this campaign has been that, in order to win, we have to reach out to people outside of our tent — in particular, working Albertans with high school, college and trades educations (both inside and outside the two big cities) who, polls show, are supporting the UCP over the NDP,” wrote McGowan.

“In other words, the traditional workers party needs to find a way to shore up its support among workers. As I’ve been saying over and over, they are the missing piece in the coalition we need to build in order to defeat the UCP.”

The four remaining candidates — Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse, Kathleen Ganley, Nenshi, and Sarah Hoffman — will be in Athabasca for a leadership meet-and-greet Wednesday evening.

“It has been a great honour for me to be part of this leadership process. I wish only the best for my fellow candidates; for all of our new party members; and for all of my fellow Albertans,” concluded McGowan.

“I hope that whoever wins this race will take my insight about workers being the “missing piece” and use it as part of a strategy to beat the UCP and fix the things that are broken in Alberta — so that our province can truly live up to its potential.”

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