11/15/2014 07:38 EST | Updated 01/15/2015 05:59 EST

Green leader in Manitoba steps aside, then wins race to replace himself

WINNIPEG - Manitoba's Green party leader has won the contest to replace himself.

James Beddome quit as party leader last year to devote more time to starting a law career in Winnipeg, but says he ended up with more time and really missed being in politics.

So he threw his hat in the ring for the party's leadership contest that was intended to choose his successor.

On Saturday he defeated his only challenger, Kate Storey, a 56-year-old organic farmer, by getting about 70 per cent of the ballots cast.

Beddome says he was encouraged by other members to run again.

He says he was expecting some members to be upset with his decision to enter the race after originally stepping aside, and was surprised that they were supportive.

"I didn't get one person with any sort of resentment," said Beddome, who noted the party leader's job is an unpaid one. "I recognized that was a decision I made."

"I think everyone I talked to understands that it is a large volunteer commitment and if you're not able to keep up with those commitments the only fair thing to do is step aside."

The party doesn't have any members in the Manitoba legislature.

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger also appears set to face his own leadership contest early next year, following a revolt by some of his NDP members.

Beddome said the similarity between his situation and Selinger's ends there.

"What your're seeing right now in the provincial NDP is a bunch of self-serving backstabbers. They have a bunch of people who are tying to play the blame game, trying to manoeuvre to save their own jobs," he said.

"What they need to focus on is what policies, what measures do they need to put forward, to make Manitoba better."