02/29/2012 01:49 EST | Updated 04/30/2012 05:12 EDT

NDP's Mulcair Wins Support Of Ex-Leadership Rival Chisholm


Thomas Mulcair added to his list of caucus supporters Wednesday with the endorsement of former leadership candidate Robert Chisholm.

When the Nova Scotia MP pulled out of the race in December because he wasn't learning French quickly enough he did not immediately endorse any of the remaining candidates.

Romeo Saganash has also since withdrawn from the competition, leaving six other candidates besides Mulcair that Chisholm could have supported.

"I've had the chance to see Tom up close in the House of Commons, and he's a great performer in question period and in debates, but it's been equally impressive to see the energy and dedication he's brought to this leadership race," Chisholm said in a statement released by Mulcair's campaign. "It's all those qualities that give me confidence that he can lead us to victory in 2015."

With Chisholm's endorsement, Mulcair now has the backing of 41 out of 101 NDP MPs. Some MPs, including Olivia Chow and Pat Martin, have said they will not publicly endorse anyone. Mulcair has by far the longest list of caucus supporters.

Chisholm's high profile in Eastern Canada as Nova Scotia's former NDP leader could help Mulcair in that part of the country. Mulcair is best known in Quebec, his home province and where he's had a long career in public service, but doesn't have as high a profile in other parts of the country.

Mulcair, Niki Ashton, Nathan Cullen, Paul Dewar, Peggy Nash, Martin Singh and Brian Topp have just a few weeks left to gather NDP supporters behind them. The new leader will be elected at a convention in Toronto on March 24.

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