VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It was a year of challenges and setbacks for Christy Clark, but she is still optimistic about her future heading into next May’s election.

In a year-end interview with OMNI BC, the Premier is downplaying the fact 2012 saw a number of high profile Liberals leave the nest.

“It’s a chance to renew, it’s a chance to bring some new blood into our cabinet, into our caucus,” she explains. “We have lots of wisdom around the table, but we also need to bring in some fresh perspective.”

She will need plenty of fresh perspective to replace the likes of Kevin Falcon, George Abbott, Mary McNeil, and John Les, just some of this year’s Goodbye Grits.

But the Premier says there are many people still willing to run for the governing party, pointing to a number of tight nomination races.

“Five people.  Five in Shuswap looking to replace George Abbott, all of them really well known local community members.  Four people in Penticton stepping up.  Again, really high-quality people.”

It turns out there is still interest here on the Lower Mainland too.

“We have two gargantuan nomination battles unfolding in Vancouver-False Creek [and] Vancouver-Quilchena,” Clark points out.

“I mean, we are renewing as a party and I think people want to know that we are going to have some new ideas after the next election and building a new team is part of that.”