03/24/2012 11:03 EDT

Nathan Cullen Kingmaker? NDP Leadership Candidate Emerges At Convention Vote

TORONTO -- With the election of the NDP well underway, the emergence of Nathan Cullen in third place puts him in an interesting role: a kingmaker.


In the third round of voting, Cullen came in third with 24 per cent of the vote compared with 44 per cent for Thomas Mulcair and 32 per cent for Brian Topp. It was not immediately clear what his intentions are.

Cullen is in part controversial because he wants New Democrats to suspend their partisanship and put country ahead of party.

The MP from B.C.’s Skeena-Bulkley Valley is proposing the NDP hold joint-nomination meetings with the Greens and Liberals in certain ridings across the country to ensure that only one candidate emerges as the voice of progressive voters, thereby reducing the chances a Conservative candidate can claim electoral victory.

It’s a controversial idea that captured little support from his fellow contenders, but Cullen believes defeating Stephen Harper’s Conservatives is the most important task and he is willing to reach out to other political parties to make it happen.

For those who remember past leadership contests know the role of a third or fourth place candidate (and who they may choose to support) can direct the course of the election. Some reports have said that Cullen would more naturally support Mulcair.

At the 2006 Liberal convention, Gerard Kennedy helped propel Stephane Dion by bringing all his delegates to Dion. Dion subsequently beat the two supposed front-runners, Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff.

Cullen was first elected in 2004 in Skeena-Bulkley Valley and is married with two children.

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