Since the unexpected death of Gord Brown last May, there has been an increasing interest in who will run in the required by-election in this riding. In Gord’s own party, five individuals have now declared their intention to seek the nomination for the Conservative Party, although no declaration has yet been made as to when the election will take place.
The Tories will vote for the nominee some time in August, and candidates have until July 19 to line up support. Only Party members can vote for the nominee, and the five declared candidates are busy selling memberships far and wide throughout the riding.
The five candidates come from across the region. Colin Brown, Gord Brown’s nephew, was the first to announce his candidacy. At just 26, he is the youngest of the five vying for the nomination. Stephanie Mitton, who is from Lombardy, has worked around Parliament Hill for more than a decade, and has made seniors’ issues a central plank in her platform.
Anne Johnston has been seen in North Grenville and Merrickville-Wolford, working the Party network that she is very familiar with from campaiging for other candidates in the past. She has the support of Party insiders, including the provincial riding president, Barry Raison, and Gord Brown’s last campaign manager, Rob Horton.
Henry Oosterhof is a farmer working a dairy operation in Elizabethtown-Kitley, and is well-known in farming circles in the riding. The fifth candidate is Michael Barrett, who is a councillor in Edwardsburgh/Cardinal and was, until recently, the federal riding president.