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The Globe and Mail

Liberal running in Layton's former riding hopeful voters will change colours

Grant Gordon, Liberal candidate for the Toronto-Danforth riding.

jj thompson The Globe and Mail

The Liberal candidate for the by-election in Jack Layton's former riding says it's a two-way race between the Grits and the NDP.

Grant Gordon, who won the party's nomination Thursday night, said the party is ready to bring it's A-game to the election and snatch it back from the NDP.

"I've been knocking on many doors and so many people have told me they voted for Jack Layton, not the NDP," Mr. Gordon said in an interview Friday. "That's completely understandable because he was larger than life, but if you remember, that riding used to belong to the Liberals before Jack Layton."

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The Toronto-Danforth riding was held by Liberal MP Dennis Mills for four terms prior to Mr. Layton's win in 2004. Liberal interim leader Bob Rae briefly won the seat in 1978 and in 1979 back when he was with the federal NDP. The Liberals need every seat they can get to grow their caucus, their definitive slide to third-party status with only 34 seats in the last federal election.

"I think there are a lot of people who forgot the Liberal story, and what we need to do is get our message out there," Mr. Gordon said. "Just because the riding has voted one way for many years, doesn't mean it won't change colours again."

The New Democrats have selected Craig Scott, a human rights lawyer, for the race last month. Andrew Keyes, a communications consultant, is running for the Conservatives. The Liberals were, however, slower to selecting a candidate and only set a nomination date after the Prime Minister's office announced the by-election was set for March 19 last week.

Fred DeLorey, spokesman for the Conservative Party of Canada, previously said his party was an underdog in the race, adding that the riding is the Liberals' to lose given its voting history.

And Mr. Gordon agreed, saying "I can tell you a lot of people are upset the way the government is running things, so the [chances of]Conservatives winning here …. slim."

Mr. Gordon is an ad executive who runs his own business. He says the hot topics in his riding are climate change, the Conservatives' new immigration policies and family care.

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