It appears a paperwork technicality is to blame for kicking Chris Kennedy out of the Conservative nomination race in the upcoming Brandon-Souris byelection.
Over the weekend, news that his nomination application had been rejected came as a surprise to many — especially Kennedy.
"I’m very shocked and disappointed and a lot of other things," Kennedy said Monday. "It hasn’t even sunk in yet … If there was something that I did maliciously or … misled anybody then that’s a different story, but that wasn’t the case here."
Kennedy said he was told by the party that his nomination application didn’t include his $1,000 deposit cheque, a requirement for all candidates.
"Whether I agree with that is another question," he said. "So that’s the reason I’ve been given as to why I’m not a candidate."
D’Arcy Barker, a nomination committee member, recently told the Sun "as of five o’clock Ottawa time on Wednesday, there was only one set of documents … Once we reviewed the documents of (Len Isleifson and Kennedy), we determined that not all the criteria were met."
Coun. Len Isleifson (Riverview) put out a press release on Friday stating he was withdrawing his name from the nomination process to focus on his role as Brandon’s deputy mayor.
Larry Maguire, current Arthur-Virden MLA, was the only application accepted by the party, and therefore the acclaimed Tory candidate.
Kennedy maintains he submitted an intact application — including the cheque.
The 29-year-old has spent the last four years as the executive assistant to former Brandon-Souris MP Merv Tweed. He announced his intention to seek the nomination a week after Tweed announced his resignation, and has been an enthusiastic candidate ever since.
Kennedy rallied a team together and spent more than a month travelling throughout the riding in an effort to meet as many people as possible.
"The team we had was great and we decided early on that we were going to do something different and try to be as many places as we could and meet as many people as we could, and show them the excitement that I hoped I could bring to the party," he said. "A lot of people jumped on board and liked that idea."
The federal Conservative party nomination deadline was Sept. 11 and Kennedy was looking forward to the nomination meeting.
But due to what he called a "technicality," he won’t be on the list.
"I’ve asked if there’s anything I can do about this and I’ve been told, ‘no,’" he said. "I’m not going to drag … the party or myself or anybody through the mud. We just have to move on and what I’ve promised is in the next week or so I’m going to do another tour to thank all those (supporters) and make sure that they understand what’s happened and I appreciate them helping me."
When asked if he would consider running as an independent candidate, Kennedy couldn’t say.
"It’s been mentioned numerous times to me already," he said. "This is so fresh to me … I haven’t put too much thought into it."
Kennedy said he’ll continue to listen to supporters.
"I owe them a lot and so if they have an idea — it doesn’t mean I’ll do it — but I need to at least give them their say, that’s the most important thing to me," he said.
"People put hours and hours into this. They put money into this. They put a lot of sweat and effort into helping me, and I hope I’ll see each and every one of them and make sure they know that that was very important to me."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 17, 2013