New Brunswick Tories change mind, will run candidate against Liberal leader

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FREDERICTON - It appears New Brunswick's Liberal Opposition leader will have competition from the Progressive Conservatives when a provincial byelection is held in the riding of Kent.

The governing Tories had said they wouldn't run a candidate against Brian Gallant, who was named Liberal leader last October and does not hold a seat in the legislature.

But on Friday, the Progressive Conservative riding association in Kent chose March 20 as its date to name a candidate for the byelection.

The seat officially became vacant Monday, about a month after former Liberal premier Shawn Graham announced his resignation as the member for Kent over a conflict of interest scandal.

Graham was chastised in a report by the province's conflict of interest commissioner over his involvement in a cabinet decision to provide financial help to a construction company that had ties to his father.

A Tory official says the party has decided to run a candidate in Kent because of the circumstances surrounding Graham's resignation from politics.

No date has been chosen for the byelection.

(News 88.9, The Canadian Press)