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Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball gets ‘a big endorsement’ in leadership vote at Liberal convention

Premier Dwight Ball speaks with reporters late Saturday night, at the Liberal general meeting and convention in Gander.
Premier Dwight Ball speaks with reporters late Saturday night, at the Liberal general meeting and convention in Gander. - Ashley Fitzpatrick

79 per cent casting ballots at Liberal convention vote against a leadership contest

Premier Dwight Ball says he’s more than satisfied with a 79 per cent vote by Liberal party members, against having a leadership contest.

“This is an awesome number and a big endorsement for me and my team,” he said, speaking with reporters on Saturday night, at the party’s convention in Gander.

Set on leading the party into the 2019 provincial election, he said he has an open door, and welcomes conversations with party members.

The interest expressed in a leadership race in the vote is higher than it was two years ago, when more than 90 per cent of party delegates voted against a leadership challenge.

Ball was not bothered.

“It’s a good number (79 per cent). It’s a big endorsement. I think anyone, any politician would take 79, 80 per cent in any election, or any endorsement for their position,” he said. “So I’m very proud of our party this week and the work that they have done and I’m looking forward to getting back to work on Monday morning.”

The public message ahead of the vote, being pushed by conference session speakers, was one of support for Ball – what he’s accomplished and could still do.

“I have full confidence in his leadership. I have full confidence in his ability to bring victory in 2019,” said party president John Allan.

MP Scott Simms made his plug in a federal caucus panel session in the early afternoon. “I want to take this moment to say I have never been more impressed with any individual in my life than Dwight Ball. And I’ve seen a lot of people come and go in this business,” he said.

“When things get rough, you want to have a strong captain there, and we have got one in Dwight Ball,” said MP Gudie Hutchings, in the same session.

The praise from the podium continued on the heels of the vote. 

“I’m hoping after tonight’s definitive vote you can get back to doing what you do best which is running the province,” said MP Seamus O’Regan, at the closing gala.

In his speech following the vote, Ball promised to take the party to victory in the 2019 election.

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