Len Isleifson has withdrawn from the race to represent the Progressive Conservatives in the Brandon-Souris federal byelection.
Isleifson, city councillor for Riverview ward, made the announcement on Friday evening — two days after the party’s application deadline.
"I talked to a lot of people about it, and I do have a lot of political ambitions, and that one was just really quick," he told the Sun.
In the emailed statement, the councillor said he’s withdrawing from the nomination so he can concentrate on his role as deputy mayor, a post he took over less than two weeks ago.
"We have made many inroads in creating a great city for now and into the future and I am honoured to represent the citizens of Brandon during this process," the statement read.
With just two candidates expected to contest the Conservative nomination — former Merv Tweed executive assistant Chris Kennedy and Arthur-Virden MLA Larry Maguire — Isleifson said he has yet to throw his support behind either.
"I’m certainly going to look at it," he said.
But Isleifson said he will be a candidate in the next municipal election in October 2014.
"I’m definitely running in the next municipal election," he said.
"I had a lot of people who were disappointed in me for looking at the federal nomination.
"I’m certainly not a quitter, with the quality of candidates in the field right now, I do have an opportunity to really excel and keep working for Brandon."
According to D’Arcy Barker of the Conservative nomination committee, a nominee is required to be a member of the party for six months prior to a nomination meeting, though the party can waive that requirement in circumstances of condensed timelines, such as during byelections or minority governments falling on non-confidence votes.
Isleifson insists he had more than the minimum 25 signatures of local party support needed and said there were no issues with his application with the party.
"The process was followed," he said. "There were no issues. The real issue was making sure I was doing the right thing."
A date for the nomination has yet to be set, though it’s expected to be held in October.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 14, 2013