Rebecca Long-Bailey’s marketing campaign launch in Manchester had the feel and look of the Labour Party rallies we have got used to in the Corbyn years.
Activists cheered her to the stage with that acquainted Corbyn chant, barely tweaked – “Oh Becky Long-Bailey”.
As she started her pitch, he joked with her supporters that they have been “going to have to think of a new song”.
She is the alternative of the left however she is working laborious to put some clear pink water between Mr Corbyn and herself.
But she additionally is aware of that her route to victory is to unite the left that after flocked to Mr Corbyn.
Some early polls recommend the left is now splintering between Ms Long-Bailey and Sir Keir Starmer.
Both the front-runners are flexing their left credentials – an indication of how far the social gathering has shifted in the previous 4 years.
And the resolution for the 500,000 or so Labour Party members over the subsequent 11 weeks is the extent to which they need stick to the establishment of Corbynism through his protege Ms Long-Bailey or shift to Sir Keir, who’s pitching himself as an oven-ready chief who will marry the greatest bits of Corbynism with electability.
It is ready to be a good race between the two candidates.
Sir Keir, out of the blocks early with a slick marketing campaign and loads of help from MPs and MEPs, seems to be like the one to beat, for now.
A YouGov survey of Labour members in the Times launched on Friday evening put Sir Keir on 63%, with Ms Long-Bailey on 37%.
But a distinct ballot of members of the web site LabourListing this week put the shadow enterprise secretary forward of her opponents with 42% of first choice votes, in opposition to 37% for Sir Keir.
The shadow Brexit secretary might presently be the one to beat, however throughout 11 weeks of campaigning and 12 hustings, so much may change if Ms Long-Bailey can persuade these on the left to accumulate behind her.
And she has vital institutional backing.
She is being formally supported by Momentum, the left-wing motion inside the social gathering that helped propel Mr Corbyn into management.
Next week she ought to get the formal help of the highly effective Unite union, led by Len McCluskey, one other key Corbyn ally who helped the outgoing chief to the prime of the social gathering and preserve him there.
Those in the Corbyn camp inform me that Ms Long-Bailey is the candidate with the “right values” who will develop into the job and is grounded in the very communities Labour want to win again.
Ms Long-Bailey has the open help of John McDonnell and lots of in the shadow cupboard and Corbyn’s group.
As one senior Labour determine in the Corbyn camp instructed me final week, Ms Long-Bailey is the solely candidate that may actually “advance the socialist cause”.
But her anointment as the candidate of the left has not been a straight coronation, and there stays unease amongst some that she’ll wrestle to carry the Corbyn mantle – manifesting in the aborted management run of chairman Ian Lavery.
She could also be the candidate to press on with the Corbyn venture however has she got the charisma and expertise to succeed where Mr Corbyn failed and convert that into one thing greater than a protest motion?
Her allies insist that Ms Long-Bailey will deliver a brand new vitality to Corbynism and alter the feel and look of Labour by broadening out the front-bench and bringing a few of the expertise sitting on the backbenchers again into the fold.
Even some who’re publicly supporting her have their doubts.
“Becky can win the leadership but she can’t win an election,” one MP instructed me final week.
Sir Keir, in the meantime, is pitching himself as the candidate who can, promising to “rebuild” the social gathering and “be in a position to win an election so that change can actually happen”.
And his pledge to keep true to Mr Corbyn’s radicalism is, in these early levels, interesting to members. His allies hope it would blunt Ms Long-Bailey and the radical left’s assaults.
“If Keir defends Jeremy Corbyn’s legacy and is not a threat to it, then it becomes much harder for the left to build emotional support behind her,” mentioned one senior MP who’s supporting Sir Keir.
Ms Long-Bailey’s problem in the coming weeks is to show to the members shattered from 4 successive election defeats that she can win where Mr Corbyn couldn’t, so as to unite the left behind her fairly than Sir Keir.