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Nova Scotia Votes 2003

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  Main > Parties and Leaders >LIB: Danny Graham
Voting Day August 05, 2003  
Parties and Leaders

Danny Graham, leader of the Liberal Party, running in Halifax Citadel.


Danny GrahamDanny Graham has to win the battle and the war in this election. A king without a throne, he's hoping to topple Tory incumbent Jane Purves in Halifax Citadel while leading the Liberals to victory.

It will be a tough fight on the personal front, with the Halifax lawyer facing off against John Hamm's high-profile health minister.

Quick facts: Danny Graham

Education: Attended St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish graduated with a law degree from Dalhousie University
Employment: Lawyer with the Halifax firm Pink, Murray, Graham
Politics: Becomes leader of Liberal party on April 13, 2002
Extra: Special advisor to federal Department of Justice for two years on justice issues - coached children's hockey, soccer and tennis
Family: Married to Sheelagh Nolan of Halifax; three children.
Son of Senator Al Graham.
Brother of veteran party activist Jack Graham.

But Graham, a former collegiate hockey star (with the knee-surgery scars to prove it), may pull off an upset.

"Party leaders in the Maritimes have often seemed to have uphill struggles and do tend to be elected," Acadia University political scientist Ian Stewart told the Chronicle-Herald.

"I think there is a fairly strong likelihood that wavering voters will vote for a potential leader/premier, if given the option."

Danny GrahamBut it will be a tough fight for Graham on the provincial stage, too. He has been leading the Liberals from the sidelines since April 2002, and that's a problem: without a seat in the Legislature, Graham has been invisible to voters during Question Period. Other Liberal MLAs may be more familiar to Nova Scotians who watch politicians square off regularly on television.

That lack of visibility may be his biggest handicap headed into the campaign. In May, a Corporate Research poll of 1,200 Nova Scotians had Graham trailing Premier John Hamm in popularity: Graham had 25 per cent support, while Hamm had 31 per cent.

But the same poll also showed the Liberals barely in first place with 35 per cent support, compared to Tories' 34 per cent. That's the number the party faithful are hoping Graham can maintain.

Danny GrahamA one-time consultant to Ottawa on restorative justice, this is Graham's first foray into the family business (his father is Senator Al Graham and his brother is a longtime Liberal activist). The battered Liberals, whose dismal showing in the 1999 election relegated them to third-party status for the first time ever, are anxious to present him as the fresh face that can reinvigorate their party.

It remains to be seen whether a pair of political embarrassments during his brief term as leader will resonate with voters.

In April, Cape Breton MLA Brian "Crusher" Boudreau quit the Liberal Party after failing to win the nomination in the new riding of Cape Breton-the Lakes. Boudreau did not go quietly, accusing party insiders of character assassination.



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