Candidate's death shocks Liberal campaign
Chief electoral officer to set new polling date in district
Newfoundland and Labrador's chief electoral officer has cancelled next week's vote in a central Newfoundland district following the sudden death of a candidate.
Gerry Tobin, 41, who was running for the Liberals in the central Newfoundland district of Grand Falls-Windsor-Buchans, was found dead in his home in Grand Falls-Windsor Monday evening.
Supporters went to check on Tobin — an instructor at the College of the North Atlantic in Grand Falls-Windsor — after he didn't show up for scheduled events.
Liberal Leader Gerry Reid, who had been scheduledtocampaign in the district with Tobin on Tuesday, travelled there instead to console family and supporters.
"He was a great young man, full of vim and vigour, who wanted to contribute something," Reid said Tuesday.
Supporters say Tobin was at his desk and had been working when he died. Reid attributed the death to natural causes.
Chief electoral officer Paul Reynolds cancelled the advance poll scheduled for Tuesday andthe election in Grand Falls-Windsor-Buchans on Oct. 9.
Reynolds said dates for both will be set at a later time.
Tobin's death left Progressive Conservative Susan Sullivan as the only nominated candidate in the district.
Under the terms of the Elections Act, Sullivan need not seek the party's nomination again.
The act specifies that new nominations be called no more than 30 days and no less than 20 days after the death of a candidate. The polling date cannot be set later than 10 days after nominations close.
Tobin, whoheld a doctorate and prepared university-transfer students in chemistry and science, had run for the NDP in the district in 2003, losing to Liberal Anna Thistle.
Tobin switched parties after Thistle decided to retire from politics.
Tobinhadserved on the board of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees and represented college instructors on NAPE's board.
Sullivan, the deputy mayor of Grand Falls-Windsor, said she was shocked and saddened by Tobin's death. Sullivan shut down her three campaign offices and said all campaigning will be halted until further notice.