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Brison backs Rae; Martha to Dion

[PoliticsWatch updated 10:15 a.m. December 2, 2006]

OTTAWA  —  Second ballot voting is under way at the Liberal leadership convention in Montreal and Bob Rae's support is expected to grow. 

Rae has secured the support of two of the three candidates who dropped off after the first ballot.  

First ballot results

Michael Ignatieff: 1,412 votes, 29.3 per cent 
Bob Rae: 977 votes, 20.3 per cent 
Stephane Dion: 856 votes, 17.8 per cent 
Gerard Kennedy: 854 votes, 17.7 per cent 
Ken Dryden: 238 votes, 4.9 per cent 
Scott Brison: 192 votes, 4 per cent 
Joe Volpe: 156 votes, 3.2 per cent 
Martha Hall Findlay: 130 votes, 2.7 per cent 

On Friday evening, Liberal MP Joe Volpe announced he and his supporters would be joining Team Rae. And early on Saturday morning Liberal MP Scott Brison said he was going to support Rae also. 

After the first ballot, the second-place Rae trailed frontrunner Michael Ignatieff. Ignatieff had 1,412 votes, that was 435 votes ahead of Rae who won 977 votes. 

Both Volpe and Brison had a combined 348 votes on the first ballot. 

If Rae were to gain all the two men's supporters he would be within 100 votes of Ignatieff after the second ballot. 

However, PoliticsWatch convention insiders within four of the camps have noted that delegates view themselves as free agents and won't necessarily follow their respective first ballot choices to another camp. 

While Volpe joined up with Rae, the Ignatieff people were proud to note that Volpe's campaign manager, Nick Discepola, joined the team. 

PoliticsWatch's insider with the Ignatieff camp said that another Volpe delegate, former agriculture minister Bob Speller, has also joined Team Ignatieff. 

And there are also rumblings on the floor that Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal, who left Volpe's campaign earlier to join Ignatieff, is trying to woo over a number of Volpe's B.C. delegates.  

Meanwhile, Stephane Dion received a boost to his campaign when Martha Hall Findlay announced she was backing the former intergovernmental affairs minister. 

Hall Finlay has 130 delegates, which should help Dion who held on to third place two votes ahead of Gerard Kennedy.  

The big story overnight was Ignatieff's failure to crack the 30 per cent mark on the first ballot. 

But on Saturday morning, Iganatieff told reporters that a number of his delegates did not vote. 

PoliticsWatch's Ignatieff insider said the problem stems with a number of Quebec alternate delegates who decided to skip the first ballot vote after waiting in line for hours to upgrade their membership from alternate to full delegate. 

"His team calculated two maybe three per cent of supporters didn't vote and that's why it was 29 not in the 30s," said the insider. 

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> PoliticsWatch's convention insiders 

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