Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Loosing a job, getting a divorce, loosing a bet - it is no fun to be on the receiving end of rejection.

Incumbent MHAs rarely face nominations. These infrequent challenges make them all the more interesting when they occur.  Liberal nominations are hot commodities at the moment because for many they are tantamount to a ticket to the Legislature.

It must be pretty humbling to tumble from being a MHA - with a pretty much guaranteed re-election only months away-  to a MHA rejected by your own party to carry it's banner in the next election. 

That is what happened to the Liberal incumbent MHA Rex Hillier when Steve Porter won the confidence of local Liberals to become the Liberal candidate for Conception Bay South in the 2015 General Election.

Is it a case of being weighed and found wanting or Ill preparedness in a very competitive race? It is a battle for the heart and soul of the local party. Folks only get to carry the name of a party on the ballot if they are endorsed by that party through a nomination process.

For a minute, lets forget the players and the personalities - what happened? 
So many tools, so much of strategic advantage - including the shortest nomination call to vote in history! How does a Liberal MHA with all advantages of incumbency lose? Among those advantages are name recognition, a track record, organized database of supporters and people you have helped, a supportive district association, a campaign team, the public face of the party in a particular riding and normally the loyalty of the rank-and-file Liberals.

Simply putt, the incumbent was out-hustled and out-organized in a race he and his staff knew was coming. They underestimated the competition or overestimated their own strength  - or a combination of both.

Steve Porter wanted a rematch for the Liberal nomination,(he had lost by less than 40 votes last time around in 2014)  he was prepared and when the time came he was ready, organized and executed his campaign with precision.

Frankly, it was the voters of CBS that elected Hillier to the House of Assembly,  not a hand-full of Liberals. He had the legitimate support of the majority of CBS in a by-election held just last Fall, but could not hustle up the votes needed to keep the job. It can be a bit confusing for the outside observer. Open Nominations are just that, wide open - even more so when sign-up cutoffs are not at play.

The nomination is like any other political contest for one job - it is a zero sum game - only winners and losers. There is no award for most congenial, most well liked or most qualified. 

The folks the party green lights as candidates have to win a nomination, no different than the contest for a presidential nomination or a class president. No one wants to be second - they are instantly yesterday's man. 

The gauntlet of winning a nomination is the basic touchstone of any campaign. If you can not win the nod from the local party supporters - you are not likely to win the seat in the electoral contest.

Normally, party nominations do not gather a huge turnout, except in particularly competitive areas. They can be energetic and divisive. This is grassroots politics where you and I can really have a say.

Run,  or get involved in a campaign for a candidate you feel confident will not become a partisan zombie when they become elected. 

If your fed up with the representation you have, get engaged and throw the bum out! if you can drag 500 people out to a Liberal - or a PC or a NDP nomination, you can pretty much win any contest. If that nomination is Liberal chances are a nomination pretty much guarantees a seat in the House of Commons.. All you have to do is be green lit, organized and determined and pay the nomination fee.

This process proves that politicians can not take a re-nomination for granted.

It is not often that all of the status and power are in the hands of so few! 

The more competition the better.

1 comment:

Newfoundland and Labrador United Party said...

This guarantees that CBS returns to the Tories for another 20 years.