The federal Liberal party association in Brandon-Souris wants to have its candidate in place by June of this year.
Local Grits, about 30 of them, assembled for the riding association’s annual general meeting on Saturday at the Riverbank Discovery Centre to look back on the byelection and look forward to the 2015 general election.
After it was announced earlier this month Conservative MP Larry Maguire wouldn’t face a nomination process, the Liberal party doesn’t want to get caught flat-footed.
In a decision made by the Conservative Party of Canada’s National Council, no incumbent Conservative MP who won a seat after the 2011 federal election will have to go through an open nomination meeting.
"From our perspective, Larry Maguire’s already campaigning," said newly elected riding association president Laurie Jackson.
Since the tight byelection between the Conservatives and the Liberals, Rapid City, Sioux Valley, Rivers, Carberry and other areas have been eliminated from the riding as a result of electoral boundary changes — key Liberal areas in the eyes of the party.
"We lost communities where he had done a lot of work rurally," Jackson said.
So far, only Ray Piche, retired cop and business owner, has officially put his name in for the party’s nomination, but the association plans to scour the membership for other candidates.
"It would be great if we had more than one nominee," Jackson said. "I think a nomination race, like last year, mobilizes people tremendously ... and brought people out, so we’d be very interested in having more than one nominee."
The party’s 2013 byelection candidate, Rolf Dinsdale, has voiced he’s likely to run again, but hasn’t made his intentions official.
Meanwhile, local Liberal party delegates believe the party still has momentum from its near win in November.
"We have like five times the volunteers we had a year ago," Jackson said. "I’m very optimistic about that.
"Until (last year’s) byelection, this riding’s Liberal association was pretty much non-existent."
The next federal election is expected to be in the fall of 2015.
» Twitter: @grjbruce