Two candidates have dropped out of the race for the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party.

Sandra Jansen and Donna Kennedy-Glans , the only two female candidates in the race, announced Tuesday they are withdrawing from the race.

Jansen says her decision is based on the harassment she experienced during the party’s weekend policy convention in Red Deer.

She says open dialogue and discussion of issues important to Albertans was a vital part of the experience of being a member of my party.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Jansen says, “Sadly, this is not what I have experienced in the last few months. My social media has been filled with filth, my domain name purchased to direct people to smear pieces on me and finally, this past weekend in Red Deer, the final straw. Insults were scrawled on my nomination forms. Volunteers from another campaign chased me up and down the hall, attacking me for protecting women's reproductive rights, and my team was jeered for supporting children’s rights to a safe school environment.”

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Kennedy-Glans wrote, ” In this PC leadership race, I’ve championed the voices of centrists, including millennials, who care about integrating socially progressive & fiscally conservative values. Right now, politics in Alberta is polarizing and there is limited opportunity for centrist voices to be heard. For that reason, and based on consultation with my volunteer team, I am withdrawing from the PC leadership race.”

Early Tuesday evening Porgressive Conservative party president Katherine O’Neill  thanked Jansen and Kennedy-Glans for their contributions to the leadership race.  

In a statement O’Neill wrote, “Our Party takes issues of harassment and intimidation seriously, and I am disappointed that at least one candidate has withdrawn from the race under these circumstances. Open, respectful, and civil dialogue is paramount to the integrity of democracy and of this race. As the chair of the Leadership Election Committee, I am deeply concerned and I will be referring this matter and allegations of harassment to the committee to be reviewed. We are committed to a fair, open and transparent race. Leadership contests by their nature are divisive, but we expect candidates and their supporters to conduct themselves in a respectful manner.”

O’Neill is chair of the Leadership Election Committee and says she’ll be referring this matter and allegations of harassment to the committee for review.

Jason Kenney, Richard Starke, Byron Nelson and Stephen Khan are the remaining candidates in the Alberta PC leadership race.

Delegates will elect a new leader on March 18, 2017.