I'll break this down candidate by candidate, because frankly, there were a few candidates that did not do themselves any favours by running. Let's work our way up to the big winner.
Niki Ashton: Up until her showcase she had largely wasted the time of New Democratic partisans and Canadians. But by the time she had come of the stage on Friday she had emerged as the voice of the next generation of Canadian Parliamentarians. Good on her. I expect her to be a fixture in Parliament for years to come.
Martin Singh: Clearly a winner. The Martha Hall Findlay of these campaign. He'll get a seat in the next election. I was impressed.
Paul Dewar: Ran a fine campaign, but exposure to his lack of French proven to be his undoing... He must be disappointed with his finish, and I suspect demonstrated an inability to win any future leadership races.
Peggy Nash: I thought she stood a very real chance of being the consensus candidate. In the emerged as little more than a sign of what the NDP was and not what it could be.
Brian Topp: Bet you thought I was going to say Nathan Cullen? Topp was the establishment choice and could not finish this race with little more than a victory. His second place finish should be disappointing. He, like so many that have come before him, clearly belongs in the back room.
Thomas Mulcair: Bet you thought he was going to be my 'big winner'? Mulcair was destined to win this. He came in with the most caucus endorsements. He was the Deputy Leader. He has the most delegates. If he didn't walk away as leader questions about his capability to lead a campaign team certainly would have arisen.
Nathan Cullen: Cullen was the big winner this weekend. Most media outlets foresaw him as a fifth place finisher; possibly dropping off after two ballots. But Cullen inspired. He drew on grassroots organization by starting a coversation about uniting progressives. When he spoke of doing politics differently you could tell he was serious. HE IS the BIG winner. He has positioned himself to take on any role of his choosing in caucus. I suspect it will be the environment. This is clearly an issue of personal relevance to him.