Leadership campaign rules and their application can help or hurt candidates.
The Liberal constitution - supplied helpfully by Sean Holman of publiceyeonline.com - gives the party executive four weeks to set a date for a leadership vote after they get a resignation letter.
They have to set a date for the vote within the next six months. Assuming Gordon Campbell wrote a resignation letter today, the leadership vote would have to be held no later than June 1.
All paid-up party members get a mail-in vote if they have joined at least 41 days - say six weeks - before the date of the leadership convention.
So, if the executive set a Dec. 12 leadership vote, only the people who were already party members could vote.
But parties like leadership races because the candidates rush around signing up new party members who will support them, theoretically building the membership base. (Though instant party members tend not to stick around after the leadership vote.) A later date would give leadership candidates a chance to persuade more people to buy memberships and support them.
This is all uncharted territory. The last leadership contest, which Campbell, of course, won, was 17 years ago and used a telephone voting system the party has abandoned.
To win, a candidate needs a majority. It's not clear, to me anyway, whether that must mean a succession of mail ballots or some form of voting that lets members rank all the candidates.