Has he bitten off more than he can chew?
There has been a big shake up in the betting for the 2020 London Mayoral race following the announcement this morning that the former Tory cabinet minister and failed leadership contender, Rory Stewart, has decided to enter the race.
This came after he announced that he would not be standing again at the General Election for his Penrith seat.
Stewart has quickly moved into second place in the betting while the odds on the incumbent, Sadiq Khan, have dropped from a 70% chance to 56%. Another betting loser has been the Lib Dem and former second favourite, Siobhan Benita. This morning she was a 20% chance on Betfair while now she’s down to a 6% one.
Running as an independent is not going to be easy. He will have no ready made party organisation with hundreds of foot soldiers ready to knock on doors and deliver. Also Londin is traditionally a Labour city although the LDs came out top in the May 23rd elections.
The turnout levels in these elections tend to be in the range of 35-40% so identifying potential voters and ensuring that they actually vote is critical for success.
There is a free distribution of candidature literature provided for all contenders but to do more without a volunteer structure could be costly. He will also have to operate within strict expenditure limits.
The main party contenders are also likely to have good voter data in their areas of strength which won’t be available to Stewart. Again this is a key factor in low turnout elections.
His Lib Dem opponent, Benita, has very strong organisation is several key areas where there are much higher turnout rates and represents a party that has been soaring in Remain-strong London.
Stewart might be able to build some sort of organisation but he has only seven months to do so.