The provincial Liberal party has officially issued a call for nominations in Port de Grave, a district that is expected to be hotly contested in the 2015 provincial general election.
Nominations opened today (Sept. 3) at noon, and will conclude on Monday, Sept. 8 at midnight.
A handful of candidates have already been actively campaigning for the nomination, setting up what may be one of the most interesting nomination battles in the province. They include Justin Butler, Kay Crane, Lee Efford, Tony Menchions and Pam Parsons. Howard Smith also contacted The Compass last week to say he would be seeking the nomination.
A vote is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 15. Times and places for voting shall be announced at a later date.
All residents of the district who are 14 years-of-age or older, and have registered with the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador as a member or supporter by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 10, are eligible to vote in the nomination process.
Meanwhile, the interest in the nomination is indicative of the resurgence being enjoyed by the Liberal party, which has been on the political sidelines since 2003. The party has taken full advantage of a slump in popularity by the governing Progressive Conservatives, and has won four consecutive by-elections since June 2013, including the most recent in St. George's-Stephenville East.
The Liberal caucus has now grown to 13 members, while the PCs continue to hold a strong majority with 32 MHAs. The New Democratic Party is represented by three members.
Port de Grave is currently held by PC MHA Glenn Littlejohn, who was elected in October 2011.
However, the district is traditionally Liberal, and many observers are predicting a very close contest when voters go to the polls next fall.