NDP's George Murphy says he will not seek re-election

The MHA for St. John's East, George Murphy, says he will not be seeking re-election in this fall's provincial general election.

St. John's East MHA plans to 'explore other options' after one term

The CBC's Peter Cowan talked to George Murphy about his decision not to run in the next provincial election. 2:53

The NDP MHA for St. John's East, George Murphy, says his decision not to seek re-election in the upcoming election is solely based on the needs of his family.

In a statement sent to media outlets on Monday, Murphy said it was a difficult decision, but said it's "time to move on and explore other options in my life that would be more inclusive of family."

Murphy said he made the decision following discussions with family and friends, and his district association.

"You make a commitment to everybody in your district, so your family essentially grows from what you have in your own household to 14,500 people you have to look after," Murphy told CBC News Monday, admitting it was a hard job at times.

"Be prepared to be caught up in emotional stories and emotional cases too."

I was just as happy driving a cab as I was being a politician- George Murphy

Murphy made the announcement just days after former NDP leader Lorraine Michael announced she will run in the revamped district of St. John's East-Signal Hill in the Nov. 30 election. The new district includes significant parts of Murphy's current district. 

He said the decision not to run for re-election was solely based on his family's needs, and not because he didn't want to face Michael for the party's nomination.

"Democracy is democracy and that option was there," Murphy said. "People were wanting me to [run] and certainly the way that the district was divided — it was divided up in four different directions — I could have [run] anywhere."

Murphy was first elected in October 2011.

It was his third attempt at provincial politics, having previously contested an election as a member of the Liberal party in 2003.

He joined the NDP in 2010.

He said serving as an MHA was the fulfillment of one of his life's goals.

"Not too many people get the chance to enter their thoughts and comments on provincial policy direction and also the chance to speak for the province," Murphy said in a statement he issued Monday. "I will forever remember taking that less traveled road to the many corners of this province that brought with it the chance of meeting our greatest people. I will remember you always."

Murphy also had a kind message for all MHAs, regardless of their political affiliation, saying: "Keep doing what is right for the province and remember that, though we may differ in opinion, we are the same kinship."

Time in politics not all positive

Murphy's time as an MHA wasn't all positive.

He became embroiled in a divisive internal party dispute in late 2013 involving Lorraine Michael's leadership.

Murphy, along with three other members of the NDP caucus, signed a letter to Michael that she interpreted as a demand for her resignation.

The matter erupted into a very public and bitter feud within the party, which was riding high at the time in public support.

Murphy told CBC News the incident was something he learned from.

"You can't be afraid to apologize, you can't be afraid to pick up and go on, and the third thing that I really learned from it was that you never back away from a fight," Murphy said.

"I stayed. And I think that was a big personal victory for me in the end."

Murphy later regretted his involvement with the letter, while two other MHAs, Dale Kirby and Christopher Michelmore, left the party and later joined the Liberals. 

The party was reduced to just three MHAs, and is continuing efforts to rebuild under a new leader, former labour leader Earle McCurdy.

As for Murphy's future, he said it's wide open and doesn't have any plans for the next chapter in his life — but he does have advice for anyone planning on running for politics.

"I was just as happy driving a cab as I was being a politician. It's not about the money, it's not about the pension," he said.

"And for anybody considering running, if you're in it to run for a pension, boy, you're in it for the wrong [reasons], you've got to be in it for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and you better to be ready to give it 100 per cent."