Voters will know by next Tuesday who will be the candidate trying to retain the Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge seat for Stephen Harper’s Conservative party.
Mike Murray, currently executive-assistant to present MP Randy Kamp, and MLA Marc Dalton, are competing for the right to run in the Oct. 19 election.
The candidate will be decided during a vote at the nomination meeting, this Tuesday, Aug. 18, at Westview secondary, 20905 Wicklund Ave. The candidates will both speak starting at 5:30 p.m., followed by voting from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
On Monday, Murray said both Kamp and previous MP Grant McNally have endorsed him as the candidate.
Murray also feels he has the advantage because he’s been working for Kamp, who’s retiring, for the last several years.
“It’s going to be close, there’s no doubt about it,” said Murray.
He said about 1,500 members are eligible to vote in the nomination.
And if he wins that, Murray said he’s ready to start campaigning.
“I’m ready. We’ve been waiting a long time, so we’re ready to hit the ground running.”
However, Dalton says he has the lead in the numbers of members who are supporting him.
“I’m feeling pretty good about it.”
It’s just a matter of ensuring that supporters get to the meeting in order to cast their vote.
Murray said if he wins the nomination, he has a core group of about 15 to run the election campaign and “hundreds of people ready to volunteer.”
The NDP named Bob D’Eith as its candidate for Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge last May, while last week, the Green party named Peter Tam.
The Liberals are also expected to name a candidate soon.
Murray said with the long campaign period, each candidate in the riding will be allowed to spend more than $150,000.
He says he’s more prepared than Dalton for the nomination and that if he wins, he has a lot of support in the community.
He expects Conservatives to be re-elected as the government.
“The message of a safer Canada and a strong economy is the message we want to put forward.
He added he wants to stay on track with that message throughout the campaign.
Dalton, elected as a Liberal representative for the provincial riding of Maple Ridge-Mission, is currently sitting as an independent while he pursues the nomination. If not successful, he’ll return to the provincial Liberals.
Dalton ran unsuccessfully for the Conservatives in the 2006 federal election in Burnaby-New Westminster, losing to the NDP.