Key Tory MLAs who flipped Liberal Ridings are unsure they will run again
Two progressive conservative MLAs in key swing riding say they are not yet sure they will run again in next year’s provincial election.
PC Caucus Chairman Greg Turner and former Attorney General Andrea Anderson-Mason both say it’s too early for them to commit to taking part in the October 2024 vote.
Turner, the Moncton South MLA, said he is “certainly keen to bid again at this point” but his decision will depend in part on who will be the PCs’ leader in the next election.
Premier Blaine Higgs said he has not yet decided whether to seek another mandate or retire before the next campaign, sparking a race for leadership.
“I wouldn’t want to commit until I know who the leader is going to be,” said Turner, a popular former councilman who ousted Moncton South from the Liberals in the 2020 election and helped Higgs turn a minority government into a majority .
Anderson-Mason, Fundy-the-Isles-Saint-John-West MLA Andrea Anderson-Mason said she hasn’t made a decision either.
“I haven’t made a decision,” she said.
Anderson-Mason defeated longtime Liberal MLA Rick Doucet in the 2018 election, which saw the PCs take a one-seat lead over the Liberals despite losing the popular vote.
The two Ridings are among those looking to win back the Liberals if they have a chance to beat the Tories in 2024.
CBC News asked 28 PC MLAs – all but Higgs himself – if they decided to run next year. Most did not respond to the email survey.
Cabinet Secretary Daniel Allain said in his email reply that he was “very disappointed” that an independent commission had removed two boroughs from his riding in Moncton East in a proposed new electoral map.
He plans to appeal the changes but said he will work to represent current voters, who will find themselves in either Moncton East or Champdoré-Irishtown when the new map is in place.
“I have affinities, strong connections and deep family roots in both new riders,” said Allain, who has led the government’s local government reform for the past three years.
“I hope to be able to make a decision next summer of 2024 on my intentions to conduct the next provincial elections, which are scheduled for October 2024.”
He would not say definitively whether his decision is between two rides or between running and not running.
Five PC members said they plan to take part in the vote: Cabinet ministers Dorothy Shephard, Gary Crossman and Margaret Johnson, and backbenchers Sherry Wilson and Mary Wilson.
“We are finally making progress on the files and addressing the needs of the various communities,” said Johnson, MLA for Carleton-Victoria and Minister for Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries.
“With the addition of new sections to ride, I am delighted to welcome additional members. We need to make sure our highways, roads and infrastructure are top notch and I am willing to do the work to get those files where they need to be.”
One PC MLA said he definitely won’t be running next year: Gagetown-Petitcodiac’s Ross Wetmore, who was first elected in 2010.
He did not respond to a follow-up email asking for an interview.
Mary Wilson, who was ousted from Cabinet last year and represents Oromocto-Fredericton-Lincoln, said in her email she had “no problems” with a potential complication for her re-election.
Due to the election map redraw, she and Transport Secretary Jeff Carr will live in the same new area of Oromocto-Sunbury, meaning they may have to face each other in a race for the PC nomination.
Carr said in a tweet this week that he hasn’t yet decided whether to ride there or in the new Hanwell-New Maryland. Parts of both are in his current constituency.
“I’m torn, I love both areas, but I live in Geary,” he said, a community in Oromocto-Sunbury.
Wilson did not respond to an interview request about the potential dilemma.