The race for the Liberal leadership is gearing up, and all five candidates have had ties with the Liberal party for years — but Liberal insiders say the race is really between three people.

Before the candidacy deadline, former premier Roger Grimes said the race would be between Dwight Ball and Cathy Bennett, but said now that Paul Antle has put his name in for leadership it will be between those three.

Grimes said he's been hearing from people that there is excitement about what will happen during the leadership race.

"Even at this stage, I talk to people on a regular basis, they're excited about the race for the first time in over a decade," Grimes said.

"They're excited that they have what my friends tell me are three really credible candidates."

Grimes said any of the three could potentially end up premier in the next provincial election.

Former party leader Gerry Reid also said the same three candidates were likely going to be in the lead for the duration of the race.

Reid said the race has already generated a lot of people's interest.

"It's great to see so much interest. I was out to a function last night and there were people who I haven't seen in years came up wanting to know what was happening politically in the province, what was going to happen in this leadership, so it's great," Reid said.

"I remember back a few short years ago when I was looking for candidates to run in the election of 2007, it wasn't easy."

Reid said he would be supporting Ball as leadership candidate, and he believes Ball will likely end up taking the race.

Scott Andrews, Liberal MP for Avalon, said the race will be tight between the top three runners, but it would be unwise for anyone to discount support for Jim Bennett or Danny Dumaresque.

According to Andrews, with the new voting system in action for this leadership race, every vote counts.

People will rate all five candidates, with their first choice being the party leader they would like to see, and second choice the next desirable candidate, and so on.

Andrews said whoever will be elected leader will need to be the second choice for a lot of people who don't select them as their first option.

"Dumaresque and [Jim] Bennett are four and five [in this race], but with this system now, four and fives' second choices will have to land somewhere, and that's the key as a leadership candidate right now," Andrews said.

"You can't just dismiss Dumaresque and Jim Bennett, you're going to really have to go after their second votes, you're going to have to work with them and make sure you keep the lines of communication open, and it will be a clean race because you need their second votes."

Grimes, Reid and Andrews were on the panel on this week's On Point with David Cochrane.