The New Democratic candidate for the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo has stepped down weeks before the writ will drop on the 2019 federal election campaign.
Gina Myhill-Jones has resigned as candidate for personal reasons, NDP riding president Bill Sundhu announced on Tuesday morning.
Sundhu said Myhill-Jones informed him she was stepping down on that morning.
“It’s an enormous commitment for anybody who’s running for political office, particularly federal office because the ridings are large,” Sundhu told KTW. “She has discussed it with me, there are personal reasons, and I respect her privacy. I’m grateful for her efforts.”
Myhill-Jones, who works as a community support worker in 100 Mile House, was acclaimed as the NDP’s candidate on May 26.
Sundhu said she had been been campaigning throughout the riding.
"Gina will continue to work with the campaign to elect an NDP candidate here," Sundhu said.
On her Facebook page Myhill-Jones said she is "unable to gove the 110 per cent that the role of candidate requires and I am making way for one who can."
The search for a replacement candidate is now on, but with the official election campaign set to begin within a month, the local NDP riding association is up against the clock to select that person and order new materials with his or her name on them.
“We certainly have our work cut out for us now,” Sundhu said, noting he plans to meet with the riding’s executive on Tuesday night to formulate a plan moving forward.
The local riding association, which will request an accelerated selection process from the party’s national director, has two options: hold a new nomination meeting or have the executive recommend a new candidate to be appointed.
“We already have a campaign office, we have a platform, we have a strong team,” Sundhu said.
The local riding association opened its campaign office this past B.C. Day long weekend at 148 Tranquille Rd. in North Kamloops.
Sundhu said he hopes they can have a new candidate in place by the Labour Day long weekend, which is when the writ is likely to drop, noting a new candidate will have to make less of a commitment than anyone who was considering the nomination earlier this year.
“I’ve already placed a couple of telephone calls this morning. There has been people in the past who’ve expressed interest in the past, but it depended on timing,” he said.
Sundhu, who ran as the local NDP candidate in the 2015 federal election, said he will not seek the candidacy.
Noting his experience as a candidate, Sundhu said he thinks a variety of factors, such as party affiliation, the issues and party leaders have more of an influence on local campaigns than local candidates.
“The local candidates make a difference, but it’s arguable how significant it actually is,” he said.
Sundhu said he is optimistic the party will be able to present a viable candidate by the time the writ drops.
The rest of the local federal election field remains intact:
• Cathy McLeod (Conservative)
• Terry Lake (Liberal)
• Iain Currie (Green)
• Ken Finlayson (People’s Party)
• Peter Kerek (Communist)
—This story was updated to include comment from Myhill-Jones