Nfld. & Labrador

Alison Coffin to seek leadership of NDP; Mark Gruchy thinking it over

Just 10 months after a leadership race, economist Alison Coffin says she once again wants to lead the provincial New Democrats.

NDP President Mark Gruchy also considering a run at the top spot

Alison Coffin is once again aiming for the NDP's top job, 10 months after losing its last leadership race. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Alison Coffin said Wednesday she will put her name in the running for the leadership of Newfoundland and Labrador's New Democrats.

Gerry Rogers — who defeated Coffin 10 months ago in a two-candidate leadership race — announced Tuesday she will resign as soon as the party chooses a new leader. Rogers will also not run in the next general election. 

"I know that our province needs a shakeup in government, and I think I can provide that change," Coffin told CBC News.

There may be other candidates to challenge Coffin, too. 

On Wednesday afternoon, former provincial party president Mark Gruchy said he is also considering a run at the leadership, saying that a number of people have asked him to throw his hat into the race.

A second chance

Coffin, an economist, trailed Rogers in last April's leadership vote, claiming about a third of the votes cast. But Coffin feels this second chance will be her time to shine.

"I feel fabulous, I really do. I can't let that weigh me down. I know my party needs me right now," she said.

She called Rogers' decision to step down as "prudent," and that she's been getting messages from people since Rogers made her announcement.

"All the people who supported me last spring are still there," Coffin said.

"A lot of those were people who had given up on all three parties, and I am happy to welcome them back."

Party priorities

In a statement emailed to CBC News, Gruchy said the biggest priority for the party is unity.

"The primary job of the next leader of the party will be to build cohesion and coherence within," he said.

"This is the overriding imperative. It simply has to be dealt with. Confronting this task is going to define the party in this province for years to come." 

Lawyer Mark Gruchy has not ruled out joining the leadership race. (Submitted/David Hebbard)

Coffin said while she welcomed any competition to create a leadership race, she again pointed to the P word — prudent — as the party faces tight timelines as an election looms.

"We have to think prudently about this. If there is only one candidate, that means we don't have to have a leadership race, which means that we can focus on building for that election," she said.

The NDP holds two of the 40 seats in the House of Assembly. 

Former NDP leader Lorraine Michael said Tuesday she will seek re-election as an MHA, but will not enter the leadership race. 

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Carolyn Stokes

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