Dwight Ball wins Liberal leadership race in Newfoundland and Labrador

James
James McLeod
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Around 350 Liberals packed in front of the TV cameras in the Delta hotel ballroom, and erupted with cheers and applause when Dwight Ball was named the new leader of the party.

Sunday's announcement caps off five months of intensive campaigning for the Liberals, and party luminaries celebrated how the party has grown.

Dwight Ball edged out rivals Paul Antle and Cathy Bennett. Jim Bennett and Danny Dumaresque each garnered a small share if the vote.  

The theme of the day was all about how far the party has come since the disastrous loss in the 2011 general election, and a focus on preparing for the next election in 2015.

In total, the party signed up 38,006 new party supporters during the five month leadership race, and more than 23,000 of those people cast a ballot.

Party president Judy Morrow said the next two years are all about turning that list into a provincewide organization ready to contest the next election.

This Liberal race was a preferential ballot with each eligible voter ranking their choices, from first to fifth.

The race made for a much less divisive contest than in the past. With that in mind, many of the speeches focused on party unity, and the value of each of the five candidates.

Before the results were announced, all five if the candidates were called on stage for a friendly, upbeat chat about the highs and lows and memories from the campaign.

As candidates dropped off, they congratulated each other, and hugged.

•••

(Earlier story)

Results from a third and final ballot count are due shortly from the Delta Hotel in St. John’s, where Dwight Ball and Paul Antle are the only remaining candidates with a shot at winnning the Liberal leadership in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Leadership candidates Danny Dumaresque and Jim Bennett were dropped following the first ballot, while Cathy Bennett did not obtain enough support in preferential ballot voting to survive the second round.

Ball is in the lead with over 2,200 points following the second ballot, with Antle in second place with over 1,300 points. At least 2,401 points are needed to be declared the winnter.

•••

(Earlier story)

More than 23,000 Liberals cast votes for the party leadership as of 10 a.m. this morning, with more ballots rolling in during the closing hours of the campaign.

A handful of party members were gathered in the Delta Hotel ballroom this morning for routine party business sessions at the annual general meeting, but many, many more members were behind the scenes, working the phone lines to pull in last minute votes.

Cathy Bennett, Dwight Ball and Paul Antle are widely considered to be the frontrunners in the race. Jim Bennett and Danny Dumaresque are also on the ballot.

Behind the scenes, party members and campaign workers from all five camps are speculating about how the candidates will fare on the ranked ballots cast by party members and supporters.

The candidates with the least support will be dropped from the race, and the votes cast for them will be distributed to the voters' second- third- or fourth-ranked choices.

Every camp seems to agree that winning a big share of those second-choice voters will be key to the whole race.

Around 10 a.m., The Telegram was given a tour of the election control centre run by private contractor InteliVote, a company which has run electronic elections in B.C., Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and New Brunswick.

There are actually 38,006 eligible Liberal voters. The party had previously reported that there were around 37,000 eligible voters, but that number went up after appeals.

As of around 10 a.m., 23,174 eligible voters cast ballots – 61 per cent voter turnout so far.

It wasn't all about the leadership, though.

Party President Judy Morrow gave her annual report, and she said that regardless of who the next leader is, the party needs to work on building district associations and raising money in preparation for the next election.

Party treasurer Jeff Marshall used his report to call on members to sign up for automatic monthly contributions of $10 or $20.

Marshall said the party has relied on “feast or famine” fundraising in the past, and they're trying to move to a more reliable revenue stream so that the party can build and operate in a predictable way.

Marshall said that the party currently owes close to $800,000 in debt, and raising money to pay down that debt will be one of the first jobs for the new leader.

The party also debated policy resolutions dealing with post-secondary tuition fees, moose management and forestry management.

The leadership announcement is expected some time around 3:45 p.m. during the afternoon session of the convention.

Organizations: Delta Hotel

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Ontario, Saskatchewan Alberta New Brunswick.There

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Recent comments

  • Anna
    November 18, 2013 - 09:36

    Congratulations Mr. Ball, I look forward to seeing you again in the House. The right person won, I believe that if you are going to run for a leader, you should at least be a MHA for four years and not try to take over the top job as has been done so many times before.

  • PROUD NEWFOUNDLANDER
    November 18, 2013 - 08:25

    well done Dwight, the best candidate won with honor and dignity, come on people, it was a vote clean and clear. The Ball family are well known and have an incredible legacy of smart, honest businessmen and community members. They are part of the lifeblood of business in NFLD and have opened up their personal lives to public debate and scrutiny as such. It is refreshing to see honest folks leading the way with no worry of skeletons in the closet or bad history affecting their future, do us proud sir!

  • jeremiah
    November 18, 2013 - 07:27

    There was a chance here to choose someone smart and capable who could present a challenge in 2015, instead they choose Ball. "Twas ever thus."

  • jeremiah
    November 18, 2013 - 07:25

    There was a chance here to choose someone smart and capable who could present a challenge in 2015, instead they choose Ball. "Twas ever thus."

  • Michael J Laurie
    November 18, 2013 - 05:53

    Dwight Ball was my second choice only because he stopped talking vehemently against the development of Muskrat Falls which will be almost completed by 2015 if our Liberal Party wins the provincial general election. Of course, despite my concern that daddy's rich girl cannot have much formal education and no postsecondary training if she at 18 years old. was slinging hamburgers and fries at one of daddy's McDonald franchised restaurants locally, I opted to give Cathy Bennett my first preferential vote. Affirmative action has to be taken by voters if the distaff side is to be represented justly and being supported by Dean Mconald, she was in favour of the development of Muskrat Falls. if the party were to continue to state it would stop its development then I would have to vote PC because the common weale comes first always. So, be aware Deight that support is conditional and when we have evidence of your true philosophy. We will consider making monthly instalments to the party. Now, it is "wait and see"

  • NL TURF
    November 17, 2013 - 20:36

    Congrats Premier Ball !! Not many posts here!! Did you guys change your format or something?? Oh yeaaaaa , ya did !! Change should only be done for positive results, not for the sake of change. Blame yourselves? I think so indeed!! Tried 5 times to validate this post and still no luck. See what I mean!!

  • Greg
    November 17, 2013 - 20:05

    To! Dolf, according to the number's that was release by the liberal party, showing 38,006 but only 23,000 cast their vote, not only do Susan remember July 5/2013. But look like alots more do, wouldn't you say Dolf? Still the liberal don't have a leader. That will show up in 2015 election.

  • NL TURF
    November 17, 2013 - 19:39

    Congrats Premier Ball !! Not many posts here!! Did you guys change your format or something?? Oh yeaaaaa , ya did !! Change should only be done for positive results, not for the sake of change. Blame yourselves? I think so indeed!!

  • NL TURF
    November 17, 2013 - 19:35

    Congrats Premier Ball !! Not many posts here!! Did you guys change your format or something?? Oh yeaaaaa , ya did !! Change should only be done for positive results, not for the sake of change. Blame yourselves? I think so indeed!!

  • NL TURF
    November 17, 2013 - 19:35

    Congrats Premier Ball !! Not many posts here!! Did you guys change your format or something?? Oh yeaaaaa , ya did !! Change should only be done for positive results, not for the sake of change. Blame yourselves? I think so indeed!!

  • Susan
    November 17, 2013 - 18:51

    Just to laughable, Everyone know this wasn't a healthy competition, concerning the provincial liberal leadership race. It all starts back in July 5/2013, when the liberal said no to the man from the west coast.

    • Dolf
      November 17, 2013 - 19:19

      That horse is dead Susan.

  • shirley dooley
    November 17, 2013 - 18:43

    congratulations to MR. DWIGHT BALL on winning the leader of the liberal party, Sir ! i do not know you but i am very happy for you, since you have done a good job so far. I'm sure u well make a good Premier. Shirley DOOLEY.

  • Pierre Neary
    November 17, 2013 - 17:48

    Congrats Mr. Ball. Great campaign.

  • muriel parrott.
    November 17, 2013 - 17:00

    I wish that Paul had won the Liberal leadership. Dwight i hope that you are here for the people of western NL. and not yourself and your ego. we have enough of that here in Deer Lake. push for the New Hospital in Corner brook, which is badly needed. also for the people . I have lost faith in Politician's. please do your job for the people who put you in.