Well that f#$%s up my prediction: Tobin bows out of leadership race
Yep, the rumour has been made official, Brian Tobin announced today that he will not be running for the leadership of the Liberal Party.
In Tobin's words:
I think that I've had my opportunity and I made my contribution. I enjoyed it enormously, but I think it's time for new blood and I think it's time for new players and I think this is an opportunity for the Liberal party to renew itself and, in the process, to heal itself a little bit as well.
I really considered him to be the front runner after McKenna. He has shown a lot of charisma, likeability and charm over the years. Everybody knows who he is, and I think the general opinion of him is fairly positive. Finally, my gut instincts just tell me we haven't seen him at his best, and he would rose to the occasion as the party leader and PM. But in the end, he's the one who has to put his neck on the line. If he doesn't have the heart for it then he shouldn't run.
Now that McKenna and Tobin are out of the running, it's very hard to pick out one favorite at this point. It really depends on who decides to run, and who rises to the occasion come convention time. That said, I'm going to stand by my old predictions of Anne McLellan and Michael Ignatieff as the candidates with the best shot of winning- of course this is presuming they decide to run. But I'll add a couple more names to my most likely candidate list- Scott Brison and Stephane Dion. Honestly, I think any of these 4 have a good chance of pulling it off if they decide to run. Normally, I would discount Brison because he's a recent defector. But he has a lot charisma, he's associated with the fiscally conservative wing of the party (the Libs need a FC to have a chance of winning), and he's a very good speaker (look at the Cons last leadership convention). I think these 4 have the best chance of winning it, and I really couldn't put one ahead of the pack here.
As for some other names that are being batted around:
Belinda Stronach- You have to be kidding me. Sure she has ambition and might just take a stab at the leadership, but she definitely doesn't have the intellectual weight or the standing within the Liberal Party to pull it off. If Belinda even comes close winning the leadership, the Liberals are going to be on the sidelines for a long time.
Bob Rae and Gerard Kennedy- I think both of these candidates have the same flaws. While both are respected for the good work they do, they're both seen as being too far to the left. If they start to pick up support at the leadership convention centrist-right candidates would rally around anybody else more acceptable. Also, neither of these two have very deep roots in the party.
Martin Cauchon and Denis Coderre- Too close to Chretien. I wouldn't completely rule out Coderre though if he decides to run. He's young, charasmatic, and his English is great- he'd have a slim chance if he decides to go for it.
Alan Rock- Well I'm not ruling him out. But he's so tainted by the gun registry fiasco- the Conservatives would have a heyday with it.
But it really is wide open now, I could see plenty of lesser known candidates having a shot at it too. It would be a perfect opportunity for some young upstart to take a shot at being a dark horse candidate. It'll definitely be a very interesting leadership campaign to watch.