It’s going to be a rematch.
Larry Bagnell won the race this weekend to become the Liberal candidate in the next federal election, setting him up for a second face-off against Conservative MP Ryan Leef.
Bagnell won the nomination during the first round of preferential balloting.
In 2015, he’ll be looking to reclaim his long-time seat, the one he lost to Leef in 2011 by 136 votes.
According to Bagnell, the 2,100 party members who were eligible to cast a ballot made Saturday’s election the third-largest nomination race in the country.
If you consider things on a per capita basis, that likely makes the Yukon number one, he said.
“I think it’s just basically symbolic of how much people here want change.”
In total, 1,432 votes were cast.
As of January 2014 the party only had about 80 Yukon members.
The high turnout for the nomination vote shows people are not taking anything for granted, Bagnell said this morning.
“We’ve had literally hundreds of people say they didn’t know the last election was close because there was that poll a week before the election that said I couldn’t lose.”
About one week before the election a poll by DataPath Systems predicted that 44 per cent of decided voters would back Bagnell, with Leef trailing far behind, at 24 per cent.
During the 2011 campaign, Bagnell faced much criticism for his stance on the long-gun registry. He opposed the registry, but his party leader pressured him to support it.
That’s no longer on the table, he said.
“That’s passed, it doesn’t exist anymore, it’s not really an issue,” he said.
Voters have told him they’re concerned about having their voices heard in Ottawa, he said.
“They’ve been getting Stephen Harper’s message to us, as opposed to being stood up for, having Yukon stood up for in Ottawa.”
On the campaign trail, Bagnell said he heard two key messages from Yukoners.
“One is this massive desire for change of government in the Yukon. It wasn’t limited to Liberals, or people who were previous Liberals. It was just huge. I’ve never seen that type of desire for change in Ottawa,” he said.
“The second thing was that they really appreciate the hard work I did for them, like solving their complex problems…. The ones that wanted me back, that was one of the big reasons. They really appreciated that in the past, and wanted that to come back again.”
Bagnell won the spot on the ballot, beating out Ben Sanders, Tamara Goepell and Gurdeep Pandher.
So far there has been no word from the Green Party or the NDP about when they will choose a candidate for the next federal election.
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