Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A province so seething with nomination news as to require its own post.

We've gathered a great deal of news from Newfoundland and Labrador over the past few days and thought it proper to give it to you in one fell swoop. This is that swoop.

First, what we know for sure. At this point all of the province's Liberal incumbents (Byrne, Simms and Matthews) are set to run again except for Avalon MP John Efford, who is still making up his mind. As "reported" (repeated?) here previously, Efford may well not run next time as he is ill. At this point Efford is saying publicly that his decision to run will be made by his doctors.

Needless to say, there have been plenty of rumours about who might replace Efford or stand as the Conservative candidate if Efford bows out. Fabian Manning, a provincal PC MHA recently booted out of the Tory caucus in a dispute over government policy on crab management is a strong possibility for the Conservatives in Avalon.

While the gossip had been that St. John's South-Mount Pearl Conservative MP Loyola Hearn was going to jump from his current seat to run in Avalon, circumstances seem to have changed his plans. He is likely to stay in his present seat, although he is increasingly alienated from local Tories over the Manning affair and the budget vote on offshore money. The local buzz has also been that depending on what Hearn did, Provincial cabinet ministers and former provincial Tory leaders Ed Byrne and Loyola Sullivan might run in St. John's South or Avalon, respectively. Both are denying any interest at present.

The Conservatives have nominated a candidate in Bonavista-Gander-Grand Falls-Windsor. He is Aaron Hynes, about whom we know little save that he is a former Naval officer. Though there had been talk of Grand Falls-Windsor Mayor Walwin Blackmore and Lewisporte MHA Tom Rideout jumping in, both ultimately took a pass.

As far as the NDP is concerned, only one riding is likely to be a priority - Random-Burin-St. George's, where former fisheries union activist Father Des McGrath seems ready to run against Liberal incumbent Bill Matthews.

As for nonincumbent Liberals, it seems like Siobhan Coady may take another run for the Liberals against Hearn, having come fairly close in 2004. In St. John's East there isn't a presumptive Liberal standing in the wings. Names are being tossed around including former local businessman Paul Antle and former provincial cabinet minister Walter Noel.

UPDATE: A slight puncutation alteration. Thanks to a far flung but very valued reader.