The Newfoundland and Labrador Progressive Conservatives aren’t wasting any time in getting a candidate to contest the upcoming by-election in Humber-Gros Morne, announcing nominations to represent their party in the Oct. 6 by-election will close Wednesday at noon.
The Tories had originally announced nominations for candidates last week in a process that would not have concluded until this Friday, Sept.11. However, that was in anticipation of the general election scheduled for next year and before Monday’s snap by-election call for the west-coast riding. The seat in that district became vacant on Labour Day when former premier Dwight Ball announced his resignation, saying he did so to provide an opportunity for Andrew Furey, his successor as premier, to sit in the House off Assembly.
Furey became provincial Liberal leader and then premier last month without having a place in the legislature, but said he would run in the first byelection that was called.
That will be in Humber-Gros Morne, which includes Ball’s hometown of Deer Lake and the area around that community, as well as the southern half of the Great Northern Peninsula.
Furey is from St. John’s and lives there, although he gave some indication of what coming by visiting the Deer Lake-Gros Morne area three times recently.
Ball had run in six elections, four of them when the area riding was known as Humber Valley and didn’t include as much of the Northern Peninsula. He lost to the PC’s Kathy Goudie in 2003, edged out the Tories’ Darryl Kelly by seven votes in a 2007 by-election and then lost to Kelly by 254 votes in a general election later that same year
Ball defeated Kelly in another close race in 2011, winning by 68 seats, but won by huge margins in a reconstituted and renamed riding in 2015 and 2019.
Officially, the PCs suspended the original call for nominations for Humber-Gros Morne that was issued Thursday and re-opened them noon today. The new, abbreviated 24-hour nomination period would seem to indicate the part believes there is already at least one potential candidate ready to take on Furey, although the party hasn’t officially said that is the case.
Party president Eugene Manning would only say he has heard "from a lot of people interested in the riding."
Last Thursday’s call for PC nominations also included the district of Windsor Lake, again with a view to the 2021 general election. The Sept. 11 deadline for nominations in that riding remains in place, although it is already known there likely will be just one candidate since Windsor Lake, held by the PCs, happens to be represented by Opposition Leader Ches Crosbie.
The NDP has not yet indicated whether it will run a candidate in the Humber-Gros Morne by-election. The New Democrats weren’t represented in that district n the 2019 election, although they had a candidate in the 2015 election, hauling in less than eight per cent of the vote.
Last month, the NL Alliance announced that Graydon Pelley would represent the party in the Humber-Gros Morne in the next general election. However, whether Pelley, a former provincial PC president who split with the Tories and formed the Alliance almost two years ago, will run in month’s by-election hasn’t been announced.
All candidates must be declared by 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15.