While it would be easy to focus on the two frontrunners at the nomination meeting for the Northumberland Quinte West federal Liberal Association tonight in Grafton, the person to watch is Brighton Mayor Christine Herrington.
Insider polls indicate there may be a tight race forming between Andrew McFadden, from Warkworth and Kim Rudd, of Cobourg. Both of these candidate have strong backing from former MPs. McFadden is enjoying the support of former Environment Minister Christine Stewart and her organization, while Rudd has many of Paul Macklin’s old machine on her team.
Ben Burd, in his Burd Report Thursday morning, is predicting a Rudd victory, only if there is a low turnout. If McFadden is able to get out his supporters, a second ballot is possible, thereby sending the nomination meeting into a frenzy.
And, this could be why Herrington is the one to watch closely. After entering the race very late in the process, she was not able to attain full momentum and is sitting well behind the field. No doubt she may be in a position to play spoiler to one or another of the two frontrunners. So, this becomes a “Let’s Make a Deal” situation.
The question is: What does she want? And, who is prepared to meet her terms?
Herrington’s entry so late in the game suggests she was caught off guard by the shortness of the race. But, another look might suggest it was an opportunity for her to show politicos around the county that she is thinking of moving up from municipal politics. After several terms and mayor, along with a term as county warden, her ambitions are growing.
Then, it would seem reasonable for her to step into the MPPs role. Herrington is a long-time
protégé of Lou Rinaldi’s, who has worked quietly in the background supporting her and her agenda. He is getting to a point where he an retire from politics and receive a pension. Making her is natural successor might be part of his plans.
So, Herrington may be looking for some assurances to secure her nomination for provincial candidate after Lou steps down. Also, she may be looking for favours to help secure a new expanded penitentiary for Warkworth, as the federal government moves forward with its plans to close down facilities and centralize services.
Her list could be endless. But, those might be some of the reasons to watch her tonight. Her ability to deliver power in a second ballot could be shaping Liberal politics in Northumberland for the foreseeable future.