Wellington MLA quits nomination race

On the eve of an expected election call in Manitoba, a veteran NDP MLA recently involved in a nomination controversy has decided not to run.

On the eve of an expected election call in Manitoba, a veteran NDP MLA embroiled in a controversy over the race for his riding's nomination has decided not to run.

Conrad Santos has withdrawn his name for the New Democrat nomination race in the central Winnipeg riding of Wellington.

The move follows allegations that new members signed up by Santos in a bid to drum up support for his nomination may not have paid their own membership fees, as required by the party.

Ten people signed declarations saying Santos did not ask them to pay a membership fee, yet they were on the party's internal membership list.

The MLA denied knowing anything about the membership issue.

Santos, who has held a seat in the legislature on and off for 25 years, representing Wellington since 1999, was not available to comment on his departure from the race,

NDP spokesman Wayne Copeland confirmed Santos has removed his name from the nomination list.

Santos's departure from the race leaves three candidates vying for the nomination in Wellington: Rod Cantiveros, Angie Ramos and John Cardoso.

Another former candidate, Joe Chan, was disqualified from the race last week.

The NDP has not yet set a date for the nomination meeting in the constituency, despite widespread rumours of an imminent election call.

The Conservatives and Liberals have already nominated their candidates in the constituency. José Tomas will run for the Tories, while Rhonda Gordon will carry the Liberal banner.