POLITICS

Niki Ashton ready to move on after NDP leadership loss

03/25/2012 02:38 EDT | Updated 05/25/2012 05:12 EDT

Manitoba NDP MP Niki Ashton says she feels good about the effort she and her campaign team put into seeking the party's leadership, even though she lost.

Ashton, the member of Parliament for Churchill, had spent the last few months running against six other candidates for the party leadership.

But she was eliminated from contention on Saturday, after coming in last in the first ballot of the day.

In the end, delegates chose Outremont MP Thomas Mulcair as the New Democrats' new leader and head of the Official Opposition, replacing the late Jack Layton.

"I have tremendous respect for Mr. Mulcair … he's somebody that I've had a chance to work with for a number of years," Ashton told CBC News late Saturday.

"I'm excited about what's going forward to support his work and the work of our team as we move forward."

At 29 years old, Ashton was the youngest candidate in the race to replace Layton.

In her final pitch to leadership convention delegates on Friday, Ashton said she would bring a new kind of politics to Canada.

"People said, 'We wish we hadn't voted before getting here, because we would have voted for you based on that speech,' which is a tremendous statement," she said.

Ashton received 3,737 votes, representing 5.74 per cent of votes on the first ballot.

It took a total of 12 hours and four rounds of voting before Mulcair was chosen, in part because the party's online voting system was jammed by an outside attack.