POLITICS

Wab Kinew Seeking NDP Nomination In Manitoba

02/02/2016 12:11 EST | Updated 02/03/2016 12:59 EST

WINNIPEG — Indigenous broadcaster and author Wab Kinew is entering politics and running for a seat in the Manitoba legislature.

Kinew is seeking a nomination for the governing New Democrats in the Fort Rouge constituency in Winnipeg.

Political analyst Paul Thomas says Kinew's decision could be a setback for the Manitoba Liberal Party, because its leader, Rana Bokhari, is trying to get her first legislature seat by running in that constituency.

Thomas says getting a star candidate such as Kinew could boost the NDP's chances in the April 19 election..

NDP trailing behind PCs

Several opinion polls have suggested NDP support has plummeted since the government raised the provincial sales tax in 2013.

Recent polls suggest the party is 20 points behind the Opposition Progressive Conservatives and very close to the Liberals.

"It's impressive that (the NDP) could pick up a star candidate given where they stand in the polls," Thomas said Tuesday.

"A star candidate, who I think would be very engaging in townhall meetings and on doorsteps with voters, makes it tougher for Rana Bokhari to get her first election victory."

Candidacy could boost support

Kinew's decision could also translate into more NDP support from the indigenous community, especially in central Winnipeg and the province's north.

The Liberals recently secured two high-profile indigenous candidates — activist Althea Guiboche and youth leader Tyler Duncan. Duncan sat on the NDP executive until last month, when he moved to the Liberals.

Kinew is the associate vice-president for indigenous relations at the University of Winnipeg and author of the bestselling book "The Reason You Walk." He also worked as a journalist with the CBC and hosted the documentary series "Eighth Fire."

The Fort Rouge seat is currently held by Jennifer Howard, a former finance minister who stepped down from cabinet after openly challenging Premier Greg Selinger's leadership. She announced last week she will not seek re-election.

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