Tough bat­tle

MacKay pre­dicts close race

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS -

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.

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