It’s likely a very real possibility. The provincial Progressive Conservatives are struggling to find serious candidates to run for their leadership this summer, after former Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s resignation in January.
Only two candidates – West Coast businessman Bill Barry and a Corner Brook youth (22-year-old Clarence Cantwell, good on him) – have declared their intentions to seek the leadership.
But with limited or no political experience for either candidate, the party is obviously doing a lot of back room canvassing. Possible leadership candidates in Grand Bank MHA/Justice Minister Darin King and Child, Youth and Family Services Minister Paul Davis have refused to offer.
Newfoundland Senator Fabian Manning has also declined. And Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley, former politician John Ottenheimer are still up in the air.
First you need to cough up a $10,000 non-refundable registration fee, and then finance upwards to $350,000 for a campaign. Big numbers!
Last week the Tories were quite pleased with the latest political poll numbers – the party’s satisfaction rate was up 15 per cent to 57 points since Mrs. Dunderdale’s departure, and the public’s popularity support was seven points higher at 33 per cent.
And interim-premier Tom Marshall was sparking the revitalization of the party’s fortunes.
Remember when Danny Williams resigned as Premier and Mrs. Dunderdale said she was not interested in becoming a ‘full time’ Premier, and would only carry the ‘interim’ handle. She ended up leading the party to another majority government.
Mr. Marshall has said he’s also not interested in the role full time and is planning to retire from politics. But he and the party have been faithful to each other for a long time, and for Mr. Marshall to seemingly abandon his supporters to imminent defeat is not a likely scenario.
Mr. Marshall was recruited by Premier Williams; he’s respected and liked by people of all political stripes
So is a draft Tom Marshall for premier such an absurd prospect?
When a party is at a desperate juncture to hang onto power, and that’s what politics is all about, the unanticipated is often the real outcome.
George Macvicar, Editor/Manager