MacKay predicts close race
Peter MacKay says the Tories vying to take over his job as MP for the federal riding of Central Nova face tough battles, first in a hotly contested nomination and then in the fall election.
The Justice Minister said Wednesday in Halifax the two candidates trying for the party nomination in the northern Nova Scotia riding are in a close race as weekend meetings draw near.
He also says the winner will go on to run at a time when the electorate may be weary of almost 10 years of Conservative government.
“It’ll be competitive. There’s no question that any time a government has been in power for almost a decade there is an inevitable feeling of ‘ Well, let’s try something new,’’’ he told reporters.
MacKay announced on May 29 that he wouldn’t seek re-election in the fall federal election in the riding, which has been a Tory stronghold under MacKay and his father Elmer MacKay.
Sixty-year-old Jim Ryan, a retired high school principal, is contesting the nomination in Central Nova on Friday and Saturday against Fred DeLorey, a 36-year-old party activist who has worked on national campaigns under Stephen Harper.
Both of the nomination candidates are citing past ties with MacKay, who says he’s not officially supporting either candidate in the race.
“I’ll be strongly supporting whoever emerges as the victorious candidate,’’ he said.
The nomination meetings are being held at three locations with about 500 party members eligible to vote.
The first meeting will occur Friday evening in Antigonish, and on Saturday there will be meetings in Smith Settlement and in Stellarton.
The results are expected late Saturday night.