The Justice Minister said Wednesday in Halifax the two candidates trying for the party nomination in the northern Nova Scotia riding are in a close race as weekend meetings draw near.
He also says the winner will go on to run at a time when the electorate may be weary of a decade of Conservative government.
MacKay announced on May 29 that he wouldn't seek re-election in the fall federal election in the riding, which has been a Tory stronghold under MacKay and his father Elmer MacKay.
Sixty-year-old Jim Ryan, retired high school principal, is contesting the nomination in Central Nova on Friday and Saturday against Fred DeLorey, who has worked as a party activist on national campaigns under Stephen Harper.
Both of the nomination candidates are citing past ties with MacKay, who says he's not officially supporting either candidate in the race.
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