STRATHMORE, Alta. - A onetime spokesman for a taxpayer lobby group says he is getting public pressure to seek the leadership of the Alberta Wildrose party, but he has yet to make his decision.
Derek Fildebrandt, former communications director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, held a news conference Monday in the town of Strathmore east of Calgary, to announce he will seek the Wildrose nomination in Strathmore-Brooks.
He chose to hold his news conference in the parking lot outside of the riding's current member of the legislature, Jason Hale, who was elected for the Wildrose, but crossed the floor to join the Progressive Conservative government in December.
The Wildrose are to name a new leader June 6 in Calgary to fill the vacancy created when Danielle Smith crossed the floor along with eight other members of her caucus.
Fildebrandt said a decision on his leadership bid is still up in the air.
"Before I even put out a media advisory last night, I had received hundreds of emails and calls and texts from around the province encouraging me to do so (run for leader)," he said.
"I'm hearing from grassroots members, elder members of the small-c conservative movement, encouraging me to do so, but obviously there are a lot of factors at play and I have not made a decision on that front yet," he added.
"But I believe if the decision was made to go forward on that front, it will be a very viable leadership campaign."
Fildebrandt, 29, says constituents in Strathmore-Brooks are unhappy about Hale's defection.
"People here feel betrayed by what their MLA has done to them. I feel betrayed by what their MLA has done to them and that is why I want to be the MLA for Strathmore-Brooks."
Fildebrandt has not been a Wildrose party member for the six months required because he was unable to hold political memberships as a member of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. He said he is likely to receive a waiver to proceed with his plans.
No one has officially announced his or her candidacy for the Wildrose leadership race.
Fildebrandt said he will talk to friends, family and supporters and announce his decision in "due course."
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