Newfoundland and Labrador Tory leadership a race among political outsiders

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The race for a new Progressive Conservative leader in Newfoundland and Labrador will be run by caucus outsiders.

The party says Corner Brook businessmen Frank Coleman and Bill Barry filed their nomination papers by the deadline of noon today.

Wayne Bennett, a town councillor from western Newfoundland and former head of the Newfoundland and Labrador First party, also entered to run.

Barry's candidacy has been certified by the party, but Coleman and Bennett need to have their nomination details checked before they are officially in the race.

Coleman, whose business interests include a chain of grocery and furniture stores, is seen as the frontrunner over fishery magnate Barry.

Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Kent, who opted at the last minute not to run, says Coleman is the man for the job.

He says many party supporters believe the Tories need a fresh face to lead them into an election that must be called within a year of the new leader becoming premier.

A two-day leadership convention is set to begin July 4 in St. John's.

The Tories won a third straight majority government in October 2011 but have trailed the Opposition Liberals in recent polls.

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, ST. JOHN'S, Corner Brook

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