Rimbey Rocky Mountain House MLA Jason Nixon, who sat on the negotiating team to combine the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties is throwing his support behind leadership candidate Jason Kenney.
Nixon said he believes Kenney is the best person for the job and the candidate most committed to the new United Conservative Party.
Four candidates are running for the leader of the UCP. As well as Jason Kenney and Brian Jean, Calgary lawyer Doug Schweitzer and former Wildrose party president Jeff Callaway will let their names stand.
Party members will go to the polls for three days at the end of October and the results of that vote will be announced Oct. 28 in Calgary.
Endorsements for the candidates came forward last week and Nixon was one of those supporters.
The MLA said he gave the matter serious thought before making his decision.
“I endorsed Brian during the 2015 Wildrose leadership and supported him as my leader for the past two years – in good times and in bad.”
However, he began to have some doubts about Brian Jean during the unity negotiations.
“Brian seemed more concerned about setting rules that would help his leadership aspirations as opposed to building a strong grassroots party.”
Nixon said he made his final decision when revelations about Jean hiring extra staff for his office and running a $322,000 deficit in his Caucus which was paid for by taxpayers were brought to light.
“That did not sit well with me.”
Nixon added the UCP party needs to practice what it preaches.
If we are going to criticize the NDP for deficits and overspending, we have to practice what we preach and our leaders must also.”
Nixon sees Kenney as the kind of leader who puts the team ahead of himself.
“That’s the kind of leadership I most value and the kind of character Albertans appreciate.”