Former mayor looking for PC nomination in Placentia - St. Mary's

The PC Party will see a contested nomination in the district of Placentia-St. Mary’s with former Justice Minister Judy Manning and former Riverhead Mayor Colin Corcoran vying for the right to represent the party in the November 30 provincial election.
Manning, who had promised to seek the nomination in her district when she was appointed to cabinet, without having been elected, by Premier Paul Davis last fall, fulfilled that commitment last week. Corcoran, who was a volunteer on the campaigns of PC incumbent Felix Collins, declared his candidacy at a meeting in St. Mary’s on Sunday night.
“I can safely say I’ve spent the last 20 years volunteering my time in some capacity or the other,” said Corcoran, who is 26. “Over the years I’ve written grant applications, I’ve made phone calls, I’ve sat on committees, I did a stint for four years on council and then eventually mayor, I sit on the Holyrood Pond Development Committee. And every single time there is an issue or anything the community needs, what I end up doing at the end of the day is calling the MHA. So I can continue doing this for years and years to come… I can continue to spin my wheels, but I think the best use of my time now, for the people of Placentia-St. Mary’s, is that when someone calls, I’m the person on the other end of that line.”
As mayor of Riverhead, Corcoran generated controversy because he worked, and some said lived, in St. John’s, causing some members of council to question his residency qualifications for the office. The Chartered Professional Accountant still works in the city, but he and his wife Nanci recently purchased the former Harbourview Restaurant and Lounge in St. Mary’s, relaunching it as the Celtic Knot.
“We decided a long time ago that we wanted to reinvest in the community and when the opportunity arose to purchase a business in St. Mary’s, we jumped all over it,” he said.
Whoever wins the PC nomination will have a tough fight to hold onto the seat against a popular Liberal party and a resurgent NDP. In the 2011 election, the seat saw a fairly even three way split, with Collins managing to go up the middle on a few extra votes. Liberal hopeful Sherry Gambin-Walsh has been campaigning since last fall when she won her party’s nomination, which has been called again due to the redistribution of district boundaries and reduction of seats. She is in a nomination battle against musician Larry Foley of Placentia, who also ran last time, and teacher Gabe Ryan of Holyrood, who ran for the NDP in a different district in 2011. The NDP has yet to choose a candidate for the district, which has been made larger by redistribution to include a number of communities in Trinity Bay.
Corcoran acknowledged he has a big job ahead of him with the way the PCs are in the polls. “It is an uphill battle both ways,” he said, “one, in terms of the nomination, because you know who my contender is, and two, for the party in general. But I fundamentally believe the Progressive Conservative Party is the best option for Newfoundland and Labrador right now. It is the party that is coming up with more progressive policies.”
He pointed to Premier Davis’s promise to eventually start a trust fund for the province using oil royalties. “I think that is a really smart move,” said Corcoran. “And it is that forward thinking that will really bring the PCs through this next election and really make them shine.”
Corcoran said he plans to get to all parts of the new, bigger district during the short campaign window of the nomination period. Anyone living within the district can vote in the nomination. You don’t have to be a party member.
“I’ve been hemming and hawing about this for two years now and having serious conversations with people whom I respect and admire,” Corcoran said… “It’s been a quick decision, but a long time percolating that eventually I would run. And this election or the next election, it was inevitable that I would.”

Posted on July 24, 2015 .