Burnaby MP Kennedy Stewart has decided not to seek the leadership of the B.C. New Democrats, suggesting the party wants a caucus insider as its next leader.
Mr. Stewart, a political scientist at Simon Fraser University on leave from academia, is the last in a group of MPs who had talked about trying to replace Adrian Dix as leader of the opposition party.
“I’ve been kicking the tires of this thing for awhile,” Mr. Stewart said Thursday. “I don’t think I would have been the frontrunner, by any stretch of the imagination, but I never get into anything I don’t have a chance of winning.”
He said he had decided to focus on his work in federal politics. He was first elected in Burnaby-Douglas in 2011.
After talking to MLAs and union officials, it appears provincial New Democrats would be more comfortable with an existing MLA as the party’s next leader.
Although several MLAs have said they are considering leadership bids, none have committed to entering the race to succeed Mr. Dix, who led the New Democrats to defeat in the May, 2013 election.
Mr. Stewart said he expected that if federal New Democrats were looking for a new leader, they would similarly probably prefer an MP.
New Democrats are to pick Mr. Dix’s successor on Sept. 28 after four days of voting.
Asked about parting advice for provincial New Democrats, Mr. Stewart said it was time for someone to actually enter the race.
“People would really like to know who’s in the race,” he said, adding tremendous work signing up members and running a campaign lies ahead of any prospective candidates.