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No front-runner for BC Liberal leadership yet: political scientist

Last Updated Oct 9, 2017 at 12:13 pm PDT

Courtesy BC Liberals

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There’s no clear front-runner in the race to replace Christy Clark as BC Liberal leader, according to one political scientist.

It’s less than a week before the first BC Liberal leadership debate and once MLA Todd Stone officially throws his hat into the ring tomorrow, there’ll be eight candidates for party faithful to choose from.

Hamish Telford, an associate professor of political science with the University of the Fraser Valley, groups the candidates into three tiers.

The first includes those he refers to as the more experienced, better known names including MLA Mike De Jong, MLA Andrew Wilkinson and former Surrey mayor Dianne Watts.

“But it’s close behind in the second tier. We have people like Todd Stone, Sam Sullivan, Mike Bernier: all very credible candidates, former cabinet ministers.”

And then the two lesser-known names –Northern BC business owner Lucy Sager and MLA Michael Lee.

“It’s going to be tough for them to fundraise and compete with the others who have more name recognition.”

Telford adds Watts might also have some extra work to do, even though she has worked federally and municipally.

“But the other candidates have spent the past five years in the provincial government, and they know the issues inside out. That’s an area she’s going to have to bone up on.”

The first Liberal leadership debate is scheduled for Sunday and Telford expects it will give the membership a sense of where the party’s going.