Local candidates on hustings following weekend writ drop


A full slate of Lunenburg and Queens county candidates from the province's three major political parties are on the hustings after the writ for an August 17 general election was dropped on the weekend.

The Liberals, led by Iain Rankin, who became premier earlier this year, seek a third consecutive mandate. For Rankin, this is his first election campaign as leader of the Grits. The Progressive Conservatives (PC) are led by Tim Houston, who is also competing in his first election as the helm of his party. Gary Burrill leads the NDP and is engaged in his second campaign as leader.

At dissolution, the Liberals held 24 seats, the Tories 17 and New Democrats with five. There were also three independents and two vacancies. This time, the parties will be challenging for control of 55 seats now that four constituencies in other jurisdictions were reinstated.

Two local incumbents seek to retain their respective seats this time round.

In the riding of Queens, Kim Masland of the PCs, seeks a second term after winning in 2017 with nearly 44 per cent of the popular vote. Former Region of Queens councillor Susan MacLeod is running under the Liberal banner. Mary Dahr is expected to be the NDP's hopeful.

Suzanne Lohnes-Croft of the Liberals, a cabinet minister during the last mandate, is going for a third term in the riding of Lunenburg. She won last time with 39 per cent of the popular vote. Susan Corkum-Greek, a general manager of a musical performance academy and former journalist, is running for the PCs, while NDP caucus researcher Alison Smith, is vying for the seat for her party.

Two local seats will also have brand new representatives after the MLAs who held the ridings declined a chance a re-election.

The Liberals will try to hold Lunenburg West with social media company owner and former school board member Jennifer Naugler going for the MLA post. Becky Druhan, a lawyer, is running for the Tories, while the NDP is counting on Merydie Ross, a project fund coordinator for a forum that deals with issues involving Mi'kmaw and provincial and federal governments, to capture the seat. Two-term MLA Mark Furey declined another shot at representing the constituency.

In Chester-St. Margaret's, Jacob Killawee, a former Canadian Armed Forces member, hopes to return the seat to the Liberals, while Danielle Barkhouse, a municipal councillor in the Chester area, is running for the PCs and professional actress Amy Reitsma challenges on behalf of the NDP. Hugh MacKay, first elected in 2017 under the Liberal banner, chose not to seek a second term following personal and legal difficulties, issues that led to his resignation from caucus last year.

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