WINNIPEG — A 25-year-old rookie member of the Manitoba legislature may become the first leadership contestant for the provincial Liberals.
Cindy Lamoureux, who was first elected last April, has scheduled a news conference for Friday to announce her decision on a possible leadership bid.
The party is set to choose a new leader Oct. 21 to replace Rana Bokhari, who resigned after the Liberals captured only three seats on election night last April.
Lamoureux comes from a political family. Her father Kevin Lamoureux is the MP for Winnipeg North and her uncle Darrin Lamoureux is the leader of the Saskatchewan Liberals.
The party's executive director, Sam Dixon, said Thursday that more than one potential candidate has picked up nomination forms but he won't reveal names.
"People have picked up ... packages, so it's started," he said.
Jon Gerrard, who led the Liberals for 13 years and stepped down after the party captured only one seat in the 2011 election, would not rule out a leadership bid Thursday.
"I'm not going to comment one way or the other," said Gerrard, who still has a legislature seat, when asked specifically whether he would rule out running for his old job again.
"I'll let you interpret things."
Leadership candidates will have to put up $5,000 in a combination of cash or membership sales, gather 100 nomination signatures and be vetted by a party committee before officially entering the race.
The Liberals were riding high in opinion polls in the lead-up to last year's election but their campaign was marred by a series of gaffes.
A handful of candidates were disqualified by Elections Manitoba for improper paperwork, and the Liberal platform failed to include the cost of party promises in its budget plans.
Some Liberal policies, such as creating a government-run grocery superstore in downtown Winnipeg, left some observers scratching their heads.