PC party leadership candidate Bill Barry has withdrawn from the race.
In an emailed statement sent to media in the middle of the night, Barry said that he's removing himself from the leadership campaign for a variety of reasons.
He said that after a “rocky start” to the campaign, party insiders were turned off, and in recent weeks, eight cabinet ministers have endorsed his opponent, Frank Coleman.
“As of now not a single member of caucus has seen fit to place support in my direction,” Barry wrote. “I am encouraged to continue but I have to ask ...Why would I and why am I being encouraged?”
He said he wanted to have a campaign of ideas, but the message he's trying to send just isn't being well received.
“Its simply possible that my delivery does not match what people are accustomed to or my message of concern for our future appears to fly in the face of many recent policy decisions. I fully stand behind all my stated positions as a candidate,” Barry wrote.
He said that with everyone against him, it just wasn't worthwhile to stick around.
“It’s less than interesting for me to play against a stacked deck. In private business I could always affect my own odds and I choose this engagement after my short political experience," Barry wrote. "Bottom line; my heart is no longer in this process. I am NOT a status quo guy. Change; renewal and reality need to be the basis of our future Provincial agenda.”
By pulling out of the race, Barry leaves Frank Coleman unopposed in the PC Party leadership campaign, which means that Coleman will be the province's next premier.
The PC party was supposed to hold a convention in St. John's in early July to choose between Coleman and Barry, and in recent weeks, the delegate selection meetings have already started playing out.
It's not clear what exactly happens with the leadership race now.
But Coleman had kind words for Barry in a media statement sent out around noon.
He also acknowledged that Barry's announcement effectively makes him the province's 12th premier.
"While the circumstances of how I will become leader and premier have changed, I am no less humbled by taking on this very important role at a very critical time in our history,” he said in the statement. "I want to earn the trust, respect and support of the PC party and the people of this province. I will spend every day between now and the next provincial election demonstrating that it is the PC party with me as its leader that offers the best choice for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
See full story in Saturday's Telegram.
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