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UCP donations nearly double NDP’s in 2018 as Alberta election approaches

CALGARY — Documents show Alberta’s Opposition United Conservative Party raised more money in the fourth quarter of last year than the governing New Democrats did in all of 2018.

New figures from Elections Alberta say the UCP brought in more than $3.9 million from October to December, with a third coming from individual contributions of $250 and under.

“We see this as a sign of growing momentum for the party,” UCP spokesman Matt Solberg said Wednesday. “This certainly helps prepare us well for the election, but there’s a lot left to do.”

The UCP, helmed by former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney, raised nearly $6.7 million for the whole year.

The Wildrose and Progressive Conservatives merged in 2017 to form the UCP. Solberg said on top of donations, the party also raised $1.4 million through new memberships last year.

The NDP reported a 2018 total of $3.4 million and a fourth quarter amount of $1.5 million.

Roari Richardson, provincial secretary for the Alberta NDP, said the party beat its internal fundraising goals and the most recent quarter and year were both its best ever.

“It’s a very good sign for us that our donations continue to rise. We’re on an upward trend,” he said. “It’s a very good sign for us that donors are returning after 2015. When our candidates and our teams are out on the ground, the feedback has been tremendously positive.”

By law, an election must be held in March, April or May of this year.

That means Premier Rachel Notley can drop the writ to start a four−week campaign as early as the beginning of February.

Last year the Alberta Party raised more than $594,000 and the Alberta Liberals raised $196,000. The Freedom Conservative Party, founded by former UCP member Derek Fildebrandt last summer, raised nearly $40,000 in the third and fourth quarters.