Nfld. & Labrador

NDP leadership tracker: Who's in, who's out, who's undecided

Lorraine Michael's decision to step down as leader of Newfoundland and Labrador's NDP means there will be a new leader. Keep up to date with our tracker.

Lorraine Michael's decision to step down as leader of Newfoundland and Labrador's NDP means there will soon be a new leader. The party would like to see its leadership process completed in March. 

Here's a look at who may enter the race to replace Michael.

Chris Bruce

Status: Running

Chris Bruce announced he's officially in the race for the leadership of the Newfoundland and Labrador NDP. (CBC)

Bruce used to sit on the NDP executive, but left the party shortly after the caucus revolt in 2013, upset with the way Lorraine Michael was running the party.

He said his departure from the executive wasn't anything to do with a difference in philosophy from the party values.

Bruce added that while McCurdy has an extensive portfolio, he believes he can get support from party members.

"As a young person, if I was waiting until there wouldn't be someone more accomplished than me and with more experience then I wouldn't be able to get involved with politics until I was 70-odd, and I wasn't willing to wait that long," said Bruce.

Earle McCurdy

​Status: Running

Earle McCurdy, former head of the FFAW, says he's interested in running for the leadership of the NDP. (CBC)

The former leader of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union announced on Jan. 13 he will run for the leadership of the NDP.

McCurdy, who stepped down as head of the FFAW in November, has previously said he wasn't interested in pursuing a political career.

"It's a serious decision, it's a job with a lot of responsibility, it's not something you rush in to … so I'm going to give it full consideration and reflection. It won't be imminent that I decide, but I will certainly think about it," McCurdy said, following Michael's resignation announcement. 

Sheilagh O'Leary

Status: Not running

Sheilagh O'Leary ran unsuccessfully for the NDP in last year's byelection in Virginia Waters. (CBC)

The former St. John's city councillor ran for the NDP provincially in the Virginia Waters byelection last year and came in third place.

On Thursday, O'Leary tweeted she would not be running for the party leadership.

"I will not be running for the NDP provincial leadership, but thankful to the many for the vote of confidence. I am humbled," O'Leary tweeted.

"My true passion really is municipal politics," O'Leary told CBC News, adding that she will wait to see who comes forward before she decides who to support. However, O'Leary said she's hopeful MHA Gerry Rogers enters the race, saying she supports her 100 per cent.

O'Leary said previously she wants to get back into politics, but was not sure if it will be at the provincial or municipal level.

Ryan Cleary

Status: Not running

St. John's South-Mount Pearl MP Ryan Cleary says he's waiting to see how things turn out before deciding if he'll seek the provincial party leadership. (CBC)

The former journalist and NDP MP for St. John's South-Mount Pearl has previously expressed an interest in seeking the provincial party leadership, should it ever come open.

However, Cleary told CBC News Tuesday he will be supporting Earle McCurdy.

"I see a void, a leadership void. I'm looking to see who's going to step forward for the New Democratic Party of Newfoundland and Labrador, I'm hoping that we have quality candidates step forward and put their names on the ballot," said Cleary last week.

"I guess what I'm getting to is, I'm waiting to get a lay of the political land."

He recently accepted the federal nomination for his riding, indicating he plans to seek re-election in this fall's federal election.

Cleary is expected to face a stiff challenge from Liberal candidate Seamus O'Regan, prompting some observers to speculate whether he will make the leap to provincial politics.

George Murphy 

Status: Not running

St. John's Centre MHA George Murphy is mulling over his options. (CBC)

The MHA for St. John's East was elected in the 2011 provincial general election, after making a name for himself as a member of the group Consumers for Fair Gas Prices.

Murphy signed a caucus letter last spring that called for a leadership convention, but later apologized.

Immediately after Michael stepped down on Jan. 6, Murphy left the door open for a possible bid, saying he would "wait for the dust to settle" before making up his mind. 

Three days later, Murphy took his name out of consideration, and said he will not endorse any particular candidate, either. 

"I will still be around to challenge the issues, represent my constituents whom I love so much, and continue to suggest alternative policies to the government on how best to look after our province and our people," Murphy said in a statement. 

Gerry Rogers

Status: Not running

Gerry Rogers represents St. John's Centre in the House of Assembly. (CBC)

The former documentary filmmaker was elected as the MHA for St. John's Centre in 2011.

She, too, signed the letter last year. She later said she regretted how Michael learned of the request from caucus.

Rogers told reporters following Michael's announcement that it's not likely she would run for the leadership.

"It's not in my plan. It's not something I have planned. I am looking forward to the process as it unfolds and to see who might step forward as a potential leader."

Rogers confirmed Tuesday that she would not be running and threw her support behind Earle McCurdy. 

Bob Buckingham

Status: Intrigued, but not running

Lawyer Bob Buckingham is not interested in the leadership, and supports an Earle McCurdy candidacy. (CBC)

The well-known St. John's lawyer said he has received calls from people encouraging him to run, but the timing just isn't right for him this time around.

He has a number of cases coming up, including two murder trials, which means no time to run a political campaign. As well, Buckingham is no longer a registered party member. He left over how the 2013 caucus revolt was handled.

Buckingham is encouraging former FFAW president Earle McCurdy to run, praising his experience and commitment to social justice and economic experience.

Lana Payne

Status: Not interested

Unifor's Lana Payne is ruling out a leadership bid. (CBC)

The Atlantic director of Unifor and long-time labour activist is ruling out a jump to politics. Payne, a stalwart NDP organizer, said she is not interested in the party's leadership. 

With files from Peter Cowan and Terry Roberts