Former Thunder Bay MP John Rafferty re-enters politics

A former New Democrat MP in Thunder Bay, Ont. says he's taking another run at politics, but this time, John Rafferty's focus is on Queen's Park.

Rafferty unsuccessfully ran for provincial office in 2003, 2007

Former Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP John Rafferty says he's vying for the provincial NDP nomination in Thunder Bay-Atikokan for the next election. (supplied)

A former New Democrat MP in Thunder Bay, Ont. says he's taking another run at politics, but this time, John Rafferty's focus is on Queen's Park.

Rafferty served as the MP for Thunder Bay-Rainy River from 2008 to 2015. He was defeated by Liberal Don Rusnak.

Now, Rafferty is seeking the NDP nomination in the provincial riding of Thunder Bay-Atikokan for the scheduled 2018 provincial election. The former radio host said he's getting back into politics, largely over the issue of affordable living for northerners — particularly the cost of electricity.

"I don't believe that Kathleen Wynne really understands that there are people who are choosing between, lets say, electricity and putting food on the table," he said.

"She says she understands but I don't think she really does understand."

Rafferty has attempted to serve as an MPP before. He lost the 2003 and 2007 elections in Thunder Bay-Atikokan to Bill Mauro, who still holds the seat for the Liberals.

'Older and wiser'

Rafferty said he's proud of his track record in federal politics, adding that he's coming into this newest run with more experience.

"I think I'm a lot older and wiser now," he said.

Rafferty made his intentions clear Thursday, appearing with Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath during her visit to Thunder Bay — an experience, he said, that was fun and like déjà vu as he previously campaigned with former leader Howard Hampton.

Rafferty has only put his name forward to run for the NDP at this point, and said he doesn't know who, if anyone, else the party may be considering to vie for the Thunder Bay-Atikokan nomination. That decision could be made later this spring or summer, he added.

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