Lisa Holmes, Chima Nkemdirin named as possible Alberta Party candidates

Former Morinville Mayor Lisa Holmes and Chima Nkemdirim, chief of staff to Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, are being named by Alberta Party insiders as possible candidates for the leadership of the party.

When asked Monday about whether she was interested in running to replace Greg Clark, who announced Friday he was stepping down from the Alberta Party leadership after four years, Holmes did not rule it out. 

“No decisions on anything yet regarding my political future,” she said via text message. 

Nkemdirim could not be reached on Monday. 

In addition to Holmes and Nkemdirim, radio host Ryan Jespersen, former Alberta Party president Brian Thiessen and former Alberta Liberal leadership candidate Kerry Cundal have been named as possible contenders.

In an email, Thiessen said he is not running.

Clark said he is resigning in order to trigger a leadership race that could bring more attention, members and donations to the party.

“I’m confident we will see a number of great candidates,” Clark said on CBC Radio’s Alberta at Noon show Monday.

Clark expects a leader will be chosen by February in time for the spring sitting of the Alberta legislature. He has not ruled out running again for party leader.

It’s expected the field will become clearer in the coming days leading up to the party’s annual general meeting in Red Deer on Saturday. 

Cundal said Monday that she is considering a run but may throw her support behind another candidate, particularly a woman.  

“I’m in discussions with a number of people and really looking forward to supporting someone and haven’t completely ruled out running myself,” she said.

Rick Fraser still an independent

Jespersen did not respond to requests for comment.

Holmes was the mayor of Morinville from 2013 until this fall, when she decided not to run again. She is also the former president of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association.

Holmes has had past involvement in the Alberta Party. She and her husband founded the party’s short-lived constituency association in Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock in 2010 and have held memberships in the party. 

Holmes currently works as vice-president for corporate development at Edmonton Northlands. 

Nkemdirim, a lawyer who is one of the founding members of the Alberta Party, has served as the Calgary mayor’s chief of staff since Nenshi won his first term in 2010.

Former PC deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk said he’s not certain if he’ll run but hasn’t yet ruled it out. 

Other names that have come up include Kara Levis, a lawyer for TransCanada in Calgary, and Rick Fraser, the independent MLA for Calgary-South East.

Fraser, a former Progressive Conservative who briefly belonged to the UCP, said he was flattered to hear his name mentioned but said he isn’t interested.

He noted he doesn’t hold a membership in the Alberta Party.

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