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Pancholi backs out of NDP leadership race to throw support behind Nenshi

Edmonton MLA Rakhi Pancholi no longer believes it’s she who should be the Alberta NDP’s next leader, but Naheed Nenshi. 

The representative for Edmonton-Whitemud on Tuesday announced she was quitting the leadership race to support Calgary’s former mayor. 

“Recently, all Alberta NDP leadership candidates received an update on membership sales, marking the first such update since Naheed Nenshi entered the race. Those numbers show that, in the span of a week, Naheed has more than doubled the size of the Alberta NDP’s membership,” Pancholi said in a statement. “Growing our party has always been and will continue to be my first priority. Rather than compete with each other, I want to unite us behind our shared visions and mutual goals.” 

She continued, “We must move forward to offer a positive alternative to the UCP that Albertans can enthusiastically support in the next election. 

“And I believe that means uniting behind the next leader, Naheed Nenshi.” 

According to Nenshi’s campaign website, he has received endorsements from more than 6,000 Albertans since launching his campaign on March 11. 

Neither number has been confirmed by CTV News Edmonton. 

Pancholi was the second to enter the leadership contest in early February. 

On Tuesday, she called quitting the race a difficult decision: “I’m so proud of the race that I’ve run and grateful to the thousands of Albertans who have supported me in the vision of building an Alberta NDP that creates opportunity for all of us – and for all our children.” 

Pancholi also invited others to join her in supporting Nenshi. 

“I am looking forward to working with Naheed as we build this new vision. He has grown our party by bringing tens of thousands of Albertans into the Alberta NDP, broadening our movement significantly.”

This is a breaking news story… More to come… 

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