Danny Breen, the St. John's city councillor who is hoping to win the upcoming byelection in Virginia Waters for the Tories, got a boost from the premier and numerous members of the Tory caucus on Tuesday night.

"I think that it is going to be a battle. I mean I am in it for a battle, and I know that Cathy Bennett and Sheilagh O'Leary are good competitors," said Breen, referring to the respective candidates for the Liberals and NDP.

"The three of us are going to have a great campaign, I'm sure."

Frank Coleman

CBC News has learned that a paving company sold by Frank Coleman and his family in February had thousands of dollars in unpaid bills while Coleman was still at the helm. (CBC)

The April 9 byelection was called after former premier Kathy Dunderdale resigned her seat in late February. She had stepped down as premier in January.

Breen's campaign office was packed with Tory supporters, including MHAs who will be pitching in to keep the east end district in the Tory ranks.

Premier Tom Marshall said Breen, who has taken an unpaid leave of absence from St. John's city council, is a catch for the party.

"He's smart, and he'll help our government. And he'll play a major role, I'm sure," Marshall told CBC News.

"There are three great candidates, but I am really pleased that he's with us."

Frank Coleman, the Corner Brook businessman who is running for the PC leadership and who earlier won an endorsement from Breen, also attended the launch.

Coleman said if he wins the leadership race in July, he is inclined to call an election sooner rather than later.

"I wouldn't want to wait too long," he said.

"I'd like to see it done as soon as practical for the party and for the electorate. I would be eager to go to the polls."

Coleman is competing with Corner Brook seafood processor Bill Barry and Howley town councillor Wayne Bennett for the PC leadership.