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Thursday 11 July 2013

And The Race is on!

Five contenders and only one crown. The Liberal leadership race has begun and it will be an interesting few months until the final decision is made in mid November. Like any race worth watching this one has interesting characters and is bound to have a few twists along the way.

The cast of 5 contains a few familiar names to Liberals of the province and here in brief are my comments on each.

Cathy Bennett. Successful business woman who has decided that now is the time to get involved in politics. Her name is known in the metro area as she owns a few McDonalds restaurants and has been vocal on a recent daycare issue. However beyond those few morsels I'm not sure Liberals of the province really know that much about her. The media has already informed us that she has been a reasonably significant contributer to the PC party but that doesn't necessarily mean that much. In the end she will likely garner support in metro and from business minded folks but I think she'll struggle to connect with the average Liberal voter.

Paul Antle. Paul is another successful business person from the metro area. The main difference is that Paul has a history with the Liberal party including financial support and even running as a Liberal candidate in the past. He only just officially launched his campaign but even before the rubber hit the road the CBC was reporting a story of some legal issues around tax avoidance in a southern country. Paul is a Liberal, is well educated and well spoken but again he may have trouble connecting with the common man.

Danny Dumaresque. Danny is no newcomer to the NL Liberal party, not in any way. He's been on the board of directors, a previous MHA, and a former contender for the leadership. He is passionate and incredibly knowledgeable about the fishery. He has a great deal of old school Liberal contacts and connections and he's a damn hard worker. The struggle Danny will have is that he may be seen as the past of the Liberals and not the future. In addition he's know as strongly partisan and rural focused, and even though he is attempting to soften his image a little, he is a very polarizing figure.

Jim Bennett. Current Liberal MHA and former Liberal leader, for a very short period. Jim has been involved with the party for a long time and it is well know that it was his hard work and organization that won him his hard fought seat in the last election. He has strong rural routes but doesn't bash the townies with them so he may have a wide base of support. Jim's obstacle will be to prove he's the right person considering he had the job previously and was essentially forced to resign.

Dwight Ball. Dwight has the considerable advantage of essentially being in the position already. Being interim leader for the past 18 months or so has already placed him in peoples minds as the leader. Some feel that it is his leadership to loose. He also has support from most of the caucus and a couple Liberal MPs. With all this you might think he's a shoe in, but he is not without his challenges. Because he has been seen so much people have commented that he lacks a little in the personality department but that is not his biggest challenge as I see it. If you look at the polls it is true that the PCs have tumbled and the Liberals have risen, a little. But with a government imploding the way the current one is the Liberals should have gained much more ground in terms of public support, but they haven't. As a party they haven't really done a whole lot, and it shows. So Dwight's biggest challenge is in fact his experience and track record as Liberal leader for the past year an a bit.

So there you have a brief look at all five candidates. In future posts I'll go over the basics of the process and a few more details on the timing and such. But up next will be a shout out to the candidate who I'll be supporting and why. Stay tuned...  

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