New Brunswick

Kent byelection Tory candidate acclaimed

New Brunswick's Progressive Conservative party has acclaimed Jimmy Bourque as its candidate in the upcoming Kent byelection.

Jimmy Bourque will run for Progressive Conservatives in April 15 byelection

Jimmy Bourque will seek the Kent riding seat for the Progressive Conservative party in the April 15 byelection. (CBC)

Jimmy Bourque has been acclaimed as the Progressive Conservative candidate in the Kent byelection next month.

Bourque, a political staffer to Deputy Premier Paul Robichaud, was the only person to file for the nomination by Tuesday afternoon's deadline.

He quit his job to seek the seat left vacant by the resignation of former premier and Liberal MLA Shawn Graham.

Last week, Progressive Conservative party president Jason Stephen said more than one candidate had "expressed interest in seeking the nomination for the riding."

Bourque does not live in the Kent riding.

Liberal Leader Brian Gallant, the other nominated candidate for the April 15 byelection, does not live in the eastern riding either.

Gallant, who has already started campaigning, is hoping to use the byelection as a chance to get a seat in the legislature.

The Kent riding has been held by the Liberals for decades. Shawn Graham won the seat in a byelection in 1998, following the retirement of his father, Alan, who had represented the riding since 1967.

Shawn Graham announced he was leaving politics after he was fined and found in a conflict of interest over the controversial Atcon file.

The Graham government offered the Miramichi-based company three loan guarantees worth $50 million, despite civil servants recommending against the bailout and Atcon subsequently went bankrupt. Graham's father was a director with a Swedish subsidiary of Atcon.

Bourque ran unsuccessfully for the Tories in Rogersville-Kouchibouguac in the 2010 election, garnering 42 per cent of the vote share, compared to Liberal candidate Bertrand LeBlanc's 46 per cent share.

Bourque also served as an assistant to former cabinet minister Rose-May Poirier during the Lord government.