03/13/2014 12:59 EDT | Updated 05/13/2014 05:59 EDT

Former BC Conservative leader supports contender's bid for top job

VANCOUVER - Only two candidates are in the running for leadership of the BC Conservative Party, and one has just been endorsed by former leader John Cummins.

Rick Peterson says Cummins and former Conservative MP Darrel Stinson are both backing him prior to the April 12 vote pitting Peterson against fellow leadership hopeful Dan Brooks.

Cummins says Peterson's message during the campaign has been "clear and unequivocal," comments that Peterson says make him proud and humbled.

The leadership race began last July when Cummins resigned, a little more than two months after he and all other BC Conservative candidates were shut out of the legislature in the general election.

The Conservatives had been considered a serious threat to the provincial Liberals during two byelections in B.C. in 2012, but infighting and demands for Cummins' resignation effectively knocked the party out before the provincial vote.

Cummins managed to fight off the resignation demand but finished a distant third in his Fraser Valley riding and the party only managed to capture 4.8 per cent of the popular vote.