A day after losing her bid to become the next leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party by the slimmest of margins, Cindy Lamoureux says she's ready to move on from the campaign and help the man delegates chose as leader strengthen the party before the next provincial election.
Lamoureux, the MLA for Burrows, lost to party organizer Dougald Lamont by just eights votes on the second ballot at the party's leadership convention in Winnipeg Saturday night.
"This has been a six-month campaign for me, so I'm very happy that it's done now and we can move on to other things," Lamoureux, 25, told CBC News Sunday. "I've learned a lot about a wide-array of topics, but what really motivated me was the young people and if I took anything away from this leadership campaign, it's that I want to do everything in my power to get young people involved in politics."
Lamoureux's narrow loss on the second ballot came after she led the first round of voting by a little more than 60 votes over Lamont. Former Liberal leader and River Heights MLA Jon Gerrard dropped out of the race after coming in third place on the first ballot, and asked the 230 Liberals who had voted for him to throw their support behind Lamoureux.
Despite the endorsement, roughly 300 delegates did not vote on the second ballot and Lamoureux ultimately fell to Lamont, who does not have a seat in the legislature.
If she's bitter about the loss, Lamoureux wasn't showing it less than 24 hours later.
"Anything can happen in politics," she said. "I was very, very pleased with the first ballot, and we had a second ballot system for this leadership convention and unfortunately between the first ballot and second ballot some people had left the convention.
"That's very normal in any leadership race, and that's why what happened, happened."
A party in need of rebuilding
The Manitoba Liberal Party has been without a permanent leader since Rana Bokhari stepped down a few months after failing to win a seat in the 2016 provincial election.
The Liberals picked up two seats in that election — Judy Klassen's seat in Kewatinook and Lamoureux's in Burrows — but the party's three MLAs in the legislature are not enough to give them official party status.
On top of that, the party, which hasn't been considered a serious contender for power in Manitoba for decades, has also been plagued by financial and organizational problems, something Lamoureux had pledged to have fixed by the end of the year if elected leader.
Lamoureux says she and her fellow Liberal MLAs plan to meet with Lamont Monday to discuss the party's plans moving forward from the leadership race.
She says she'll do everything she can to help rebuild the party.
"What I know is I plan to continue to reach out to people, try to sign up more Liberals, try to just hear people out so that we have a solid policy platform come the 2020 election," she said. "I plan to share all of my ideas, all of my connections with our new leader, Mr. Lamont, and I'm excited to hear what his plan is."
Klassen, who had been interim leader following Bokhari's departure, also ran briefly for the permanent leader position but dropped out of the race and threw her support behind Lamoureux in July.