The candidate the Liberals least want to face is in …

I’m not sure any of the Liberal leadership candidates would admit it publicly, but privately they would concede that the NDP leader they would least like to face in the next general election is the latest to join the race, Mike Farnworth.
The NDP House Leader and MLA for Port Coquitlam announced today he’s “ready to lead” in the post held for seven years and through two elections by Carole James.
Farnworth has been the most talked about undeclared front runner for James job since she announced she was stepping down in December after a fractious caucus coup that was ignited by James lacklustre performance and her inability to articulate a compelling vision for her party.
In fact even though Farnworth was keeping his powder dry, an Angus Reid poll released last month revealed that 40 per cent of British Columbians and 49 per cent of New Democrats felt he was the person to replace James. That level of support was ahead of all other potential leadership candidates including MLA Adrian Dix, a (former premier) Glen Clark disciple who once told a room full of US political heavy weights and business leaders that he was a communist.
There are a number of reasons why the Liberals would rather fight an election against the likes of Dix rather than Farnworth. For starters Dix is a strident polarizing figure who stands out on the left wings of his party. Farnworth on the other hand is moderate, as pro-business as is considered fitting in the NDP, strong on crime and a former health minister. He has performed well in his role as house leader and has an approachable manner that seems to put folks at ease.
Farnworth left politics ahead of the 2001 election that saw the NDP reduced to two seats. He spent three years working on democratic governance programs in Bulgaria, the Balkans and Iraq. He returned to provincial politics in 2005 and was re-elected in 2009.
With Farnworth’s announcement the field of candidates has reached five including the mercurial NDP resource critic John Horgan, the “older white guy” champion Harry Lali and fringe candidates Nicholas Simons and Dana Larsen, the pot head. Both Simons and Lali were members of the caucus revolt that ousted James and have little chance of arguing that they can rebuild the part.
Even though he has waited until today to announce, Farnworth has been aggressively signing new members for several weeks. Only members signed up by Jan. 17 will be eligible to take part in the April 17 leadership vote.

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