Prominent St. John's businessman Paul Antle says he is considering a run for the leadership of Newfoundland and Labrador's Liberal party, but says he would like the party to consider holding the race closer to the 2015 election.


Paul Antle, seen during the 2006 federal election campaign, is considering a run for the provincial Liberal leadership. (CBC)

The Liberals are poised to hold a convention next fall to pick a leader who will lead the party into the next election.

Antle, who has been active in Liberal circles for years and who ran unsuccessfully in the 2006 federal election in St. John's East, told CBC News he is interested in making a bid for the provincial leadership.

However, Antle said the party might want to reconsider its decision to hold a race leading to a November 2013 vote. 

"You know, the election is in 2015. We're sitting in 2012," he said.

"It's three years away. That's a long time."

Antle expressed his interest just as businessman Dean MacDonald said he would not enter next year's race. MacDonald, who is president of a venture capital firm, said his focus needs to stay on his business interests for at least the near future.

Antle, whose business interests include Newdock, West Mountain Capital Corp. and environmental industries, said he can relate to MacDonald's concerns.

"[For] someone who operates like Dean or like myself, there's an awful lot of things that need to be covered off and ducks put in a row," Antle said.

Antle says he plans to meet soon with the party's executive to discuss the leadership convention and party policy.

Hold convention soon: Grimes

Meanwhile, former premier Roger Grimes said the Liberals should pick a new leader as soon as possible, and then persuade voters that the party is a government in the wings.

"Dwight Ball is doing a good job as the interim leader, but what holds them back in the polling cycle is the tag of an interim leader," Grimes said.

"Again, the people I talk to still say, 'well, you can't really take the Liberals that serious, though, because they don't have a leader,' " Grimes said.

Provincial party president Judy Morrow said moving the November 2013 date is not being considered.

Antle said he hopes to meet with party executives — some of whom, he said, have contacted him about running for the leadership — in the near future about the timing of the leadership convention.