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Second contender enters the race to lead Newfoundland’s Tory party Add to ...

There are now two contenders for the leadership of Newfoundland and Labrador’s governing Progressive Conservative party.

Health Minister Paul Davis confirmed Wednesday that he wants the job.

After thanking his supporters, Davis said he was ready for a new challenge after facing a cancer diagnosis three years ago.

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“Sometimes, life brings you to a place that you never expected to be,” he said in a speech.

“We’ve risen to the challenge with a renewed focus, a value for life and a commitment to work hard and to make a difference right here at home ... Today, I am the right person to lead the PC party and to build a team to guide our province into the future.”

The only other candidate in the race is former cabinet minister John Ottenheimer.

Nominations close July 7 and a leadership convention is scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 12.

The party, in power since 2003, began the search for a new leader in January when Premier Kathy Dunderdale quit politics amid complaints about her leadership style.

The process of replacing her was thrown into disarray last month when Corner Brook businessman Frank Coleman announced he was pulling out of the race, citing an undisclosed challenge facing an immediate family member.

Coleman became the sole leadership candidate in April when fisheries magnate Bill Barry quit the race.

The only other challenger, retired naval officer Wayne Bennett, was expelled for breaching party principles.

Coleman was supposed to become leader at a convention on July 5, then be sworn-in as the province’s 12th premier shortly after.

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