Liberals will vote in a contested nomination between two high profile municipal leaders - Councillor Rodney Mercer and Grand Falls-Windsor Mayor Al Hawkins who had previously secured the right to fly the Liberal Party banner in the old district of Grand Falls-Windsor-Green Bay South.
Hawkins defeated businessman Sean Cooper in that contest but some local Grits continue to question his "Liberal credentials" in light of senior appointments he received from Progressive Conservative Governments. He has resigned since from Nalcor and other provincial agencies.
Rodney Mercer's Liberal credentials are harder to question. The partisan has worked as a senior political staffer for premiers and Federal Cabinet Ministers. He is very engaged in the provincial and federal wings of the party currently serving as Vice President Federal and on the management board of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador. He is a very well connected Liberal who is very nicely positioned to be an influential member of the next government.
Eligible voters will have four hours to vote at one of four polling stations in the district which will open at 4:00 pm. Any individual that is a resident of the district, are fourteen years of age or older, and declare themselves as a member or supporter of the Party are eligible to vote in the nomination process. Unlike the previous process, the Liberals are not enforcing cut-off dates for participation.
Still with Liberal bun fights in Central Newfoundland. Liberals in the revised district of Gander will select their candidate tomorrow night.
Dr. John Haggie who secured the nomination in a three-way battle defeating Gander Mayor Claude Elliott and insurance broker Trace Ledrew, last October.
This time he is being challenged by Gambo Mayor Peter Lush. A well known Liberal volunteer and party worker, Lush is a recipient of the much coveted Aidan Henneburry Award acknowledging his commitment to the Liberal Party.
Considering the interest in these nominations, I have some advice for the candidates, be prepared for some confusion at the voting locations.
One can only hope that some of the confusion and discomfort for disabled and elderly voters at the Conception Bay South nomination process will be corrected and the process streamlined to be more efficient.
Candidates would be well advised to ensure voters have their memberships filled out in advance and picture identification in hand.
In the CBS process, voters lined up only to find out when they got to the ballot distribution process that they had to line-up again in another area to get a membership!
All a learning experience - been a while since there was so much interest in these nominations! Just something for organizers and candidate teams to consider.
In a hotly contested nomination- where every vote is important - one does not want supporters leaving the voting station before voting!
I do not know about you, but I am finding the new names of the districts confusing enough - let a lone keeping track of who is seeking nominations where.
* a little editing and clean-up. Gonna have to fire my editor :)