Liberals claim supporter numbers in leadership race have 'exceeded expectations' -

Liberals claim supporter numbers in leadership race have ‘exceeded expectations’


OTTAWA – The federal Liberal party is holding off on releasing the head count of supporters signed up for next month’s leadership vote, saying it needs to “scrub” the list before releasing a firm number in mid week.

But party president Mike Crawley is claiming the exercise “exceeded expectations” following reports from the camp of Justin Trudeau that — as of Sunday night’s cut-off — the leadership front-runner alone has signed up more than 150,000 supporters.

For the third-place party in the House of Commons, good news has been tough to come by for several years.

A robust base of support would be a boon — both in public perception and, more critically, in fundraising — as the Liberals start rebuilding again for a federal election in 2015.

The party is counting on a new class of non-paying supporters, as opposed to dues-paying party members, in an effort to broaden its appeal.

But supporters must still register if they want to vote in the April 14 leadership race, and a party official says the number of registered voters will be the more significant figure to watch.

Crawley took to Twitter today to claim a “huge diverse pre-cutoff surge of supporters” that “exceeded expectations.”