Tracey Perry ends speculation, will not seek re-election for PCs in Fortune Bay-Cape La Hune
Perry exits politics on eve of election call, following her most challenging year in the legislature
Coming off what she has described as the toughest year of her life, longtime PC MHA Tracey Perry will not be on the ballot when voters go to the polls in Fortune Bay-Cape La Hune next month.
Saying she misses her husband and family — as well as health issues relating to a car accident in her first year in office — Perry confirmed Wednesday evening that she is leaving politics.
Perry said last year's harassment scandal "weighs heavily" into her decision, but she also promised her husband a year ago that she would leave politics.
With Premier Dwight Ball calling an election for May 16, Perry said she supports PC Leader Ches Crosbie "110 per cent" and endorses Charlene Walsh as her potential successor in the district.
It's another setback for the Tories, who are trying to field a full slate of candidates in a bid to challenge the Liberal Party's hold on power.
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Another veteran PC incumbent, Ferryland MHA Keith Hutchings, announced in March that he is leaving politics.
Perry has represented the south coast district for 12 years, including two terms on the government side of the House of Assembly, but moved to the Opposition side after the Liberals and Ball took office in 2015.
The Liberals already have a candidate in place, with Elvis Loveless looking to wrest the district away from the Tories. Loveless is from Seal Cove, Fortune Bay, and most recently served as executive assistant to Ball. He's well-known in the district, having previously served as an assistant for former MHA Oliver Langdon.
Perry was the lone PC politician who became entangled in the House of Assembly harassment scandal last year, alleging she was subjected to harassment and intimidation by former Liberal cabinet minister Eddie Joyce.
Joyce was later cleared of the allegations, although he was found to have violated the MHA code of conduct by lobbying to have a friend hired for a government job. Joyce and Mount Scio MHA Dale Kirby, who was also cleared of harassment allegations, were both removed from the Liberal caucus in the fallout from the scandal.
The Liberals enter the election campaign with all 27 incumbent MHAs seeking re-election, while six of eight incumbent PCs will be on the ballot.
Both NDP MHAs, Lorraine Michael and Gerry Rogers, have decided not to seek re-election, while Joyce is running as an Independent in Humber-Bay of Islands. Independent MHA Paul Lane has also been confirmed as the non-affiliated candidate in Mount Pearl-Southlands.
Kirby, meanwhile, has not confirmed whether he will seek re-election.