The announcement of Danielle Smith seeking the United Conservative Party (UCP) nomination for the Livingstone-Macleod constituency and the potential of her taking a shot at the party leadership is being greeted favourably by Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Peter Guthrie.
"She's got a good reputation of being a hard worker, she's bright, intelligent, and obviously knows her way around media," says Guthrie.
"I think the nice thing about it, too, is the many questions you get asked about future leadership. Who's out there? Who's available? This adds another element and gives the current leadership something to think about."
Guthrie says he has come to know Smith this past year through oil and gas engagements and in her role as president of the Alberta Enterprise Group (AEG). He says they have worked together on a few initiatives.
Smith also was a special guest at a Guthrie event in December.
"I'm just looking forward to seeing what she brings. I'm glad she's bringing her name forward to run for the UCP. I think it will be beneficial to the party, as well as to her constituents."
Roger Reid is the current UCP MLA for Livingstone-Macleod.
Smith is on record as strongly disagreeing with the cancellation of the Apr. 9 UCP leadership vote. It's a view shared by Guthrie.
He believes they could have easily found a different place to accommodate the vote in Red Deer and extended polling hours. When registration ballooned to 15,000 people, he believes the Kenney team got scared.
"Typically, when you get large groups of people coming out, that means change. So some polling was done, and leadership knew they were trouble and that they needed to make a change. That change was to go to mail-in balloting. As we all know, that has a lot of issues around it."
Guthrie welcomes the idea of Smith entering the leadership race but wants to see a robust slate of candidates.
"I'm a fan of Danielle's, but I think the best thing to do is to have as many people run as possible. I'd like to see double digits as far as people putting the names of high-quality candidates forward, and then everybody has the opportunity to make their judgment from that."