Let's talk Liberal leadership...

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...Because it's never too soon to start speculating!

We’re still more than a year away from the Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal Party choosing a new leader, so it’s way too early to talk about a leadership race. With that in mind, I’ve been asking people about the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial Liberal leadership race. Let the largely-ill-informed speculation begin!

OK, so nobody is declaring his or her candidacy for leadership yet. Like I said, it’s way too early for that sort of thing. The leadership convention is slated for Nov. 15-17, 2013. Nobody is making any firm plans this far out. With that in mind, I’ve been asking people a different sort of question. I’ve been saying I’m drawing up two – and only two – lists. One list is labeled “Definitely not going to run for the Liberal leadership” and the other one is titled “Won’t let me put their name on List No. 1.” Basically, you’re either ruling it out for sure, or you’re leaving the door open.

I’ve made inquiries with the federal caucus, the provincial caucus and a few other notable potential candidates.

 So, let’s go straight to the potential contenders, in no particular order:

- Dwight Ball (Has publicly said he’ll be running.)

- Dean MacDonald (Has told me at least a dozen times that he’s at least thinking about it.)

- Gerry Byrne (“Won’t rule it out.”)

- Jim Bennett (“At this point it's too early for me to say what I will do.”)

- Siobhan Coady (Wouldn’t rule it out, but said the chances of getting into the race are “2 in 10.” So… let’s call her a dark horse.)

- Danny Dumaresque (Thinking about it.)

 

The definitely-ruling-it-out list is a bit longer:

- Yvonne Jones

- Judy Foote

- Scott Andrews

- Scott Simms

- Eddie Joyce

- George Murphy (Shocker, I know.)

- Randy Edmunds

- Andrew Parsons

 

If you’ll notice, there’s a thread running through virtually all of the names on these two lists. They’re either current or recently former elected politicians. That’s because it’s really, really difficult to make any sort of credible leadership run, without some sort of record to run on. The black sheep, of course, is Dean MacDonald, who has never held any sort of elected office. That’s probably why he’s been giving few significant speeches to build his public profile.

Oh, and by the way, I want to go on record right now as saying that Rick Hillier won’t be running. He won’t. Take my word for it. This isn’t based on any information from him, or anybody who knows him, but I am entirely confident that he won’t be running for Liberal leader. Anybody who wants to lay wagers to the contrary, I’m offering 10-to-1 odds, and the minimum bet starts at $20. (That’s right, if you take this wager, I’ll pay you $200 if Rick Hiller gets into the race. I feel like my money is pretty safe.)

Last but not least, Brad Cabana may be running. I asked him on Twitter back in September, and he told me “My wife says no.” But then, a few days later, he followed up saying, “My wife did, but I’ve never been good at taking orders.” Of course, given that this is a man who ran for both the PC Party leadership and the Liberal leadership within a single calendar year, and more recently he’s taken to publicly threatening local bloggers with legal action, I’d say a potential Cabana candidacy should be taken with a grain of salt.

Any other potential Liberal leaders feel free to make yourself heard in the comments section. If there’s anybody (credible) you think I should ask, post a comment about that too.

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