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Davis to face formal leadership challenge


Progressive Conservative Leader Paul Davis will face the judgement of Tories at the party’s convention in Gander next month.

Tory Leader Paul Davis

Sharon Vokey, the party’s former executive director and a longtime staffer, has signed a letter formally calling for a leadership review, and the letter has been seconded by Stephenville-Port au Port district association president Craig Mason.

“I heard from so many people, and I certainly felt strongly myself that we had to have a review, given the devastating loss in the election,” Vokey explained, in an interview with The Telegram.

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Davis says he wants to run again in 2019

Davis was elected as the party’s leader in 2014, ending the messy interregnum after the departure of Premier Kathy Dunderdale, and he served as premier for about a year before going down to defeat in the 2015 general election.

In the wake of the election, there was a belief among many Tories that Davis would stay on as leader for a while, but ultimately step aside to give a new leader a shot.

But earlier this month, Davis announced that he wanted to stay on, and contest the 2019 election as leader of the party.

A former premier running to regain the position after an election loss is unprecedented in post-confederation Newfoundland and Labrador politics.

“I don’t think there was any sort of urgency for anybody to get a resolution in, until he made the announcement about a week and a half ago,” Vokey said.

She raised concerns about how well the party performed in the last election, and how poorly organized they were.

“It’s not about personality. The party is always bigger than any one person,” Vokey said. “We had a helluva job getting volunteers to help out in the last campaign, and for a party in power, having such work to get candidates and to get volunteers, you know it should never be that way.”

The PC Party convention is scheduled to take place on the weekend of Oct. 22 in Gander.

 

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelegramJames

 

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