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United Conservative Party of Alberta to hold last debate for leadership candidates

The United Conservative Party of Alberta is set to hold its final leadership debate tonight as the campaign to replace Premier Jason Kenney moves into the home stretch.

The seven candidates will debate the issues in Edmonton in the second of two scheduled debates.

The deadline to sign up for a party membership to vote was two weeks ago, and candidates are now focused on winning support from members as their first or second choice as leader.

The winner will be announced Oct. 6 using a preferential ballot, which means lower-tier choices may come into play if the first-place finisher doesn’t capture a majority in the first round of voting.

Starting Friday, ballots will be mailed to the more than 123,000 party members eligible to participate.

The candidates are former Wildrose party leaders Danielle Smith and Brian Jean, former UCP caucus member Todd Loewen, and Kenney-era cabinet ministers Leela Aheer, Rebecca Schulz, Travis Toews and Rajan Sawhney.