The New Brunswick Liberals have chosen a political newcomer who has promoted herself as a fresh voice for the party as their new leader.
Susan Holt, who worked as an adviser to former premier Brian Gallant’s government, said in her acceptance speech Saturday she hopes citizens discouraged by soaring inflation and health care shortfalls will see her as “a breath of fresh air” in provincial politics.
She is promising increased transparency, improved relationships with the province’s Indigenous population and a less confrontational style.
Holt defeated T.J. Harvey, a former cabinet minister, on the third count of votes. Former cabinet minister Donald Arseneault was dropped after the first count, and Robert Gauvin, a member of the legislature for Shediac Bay-Dieppe, was dropped following the second count.
The Liberals used a weighted, preferential ballot system, allowing the party’s voters to rank their first, second, third and fourth choices for leader.
It’s expected Hold will lead the official Opposition into the next provincial election against the governing Progressive Conservatives led by Premier Blaine Higgs.
The four leadership candidates vied for a total of 100 points in each of the 49 ridings, with a total of 4,900 points available in the election.
The winner was required to take more than 50 per cent of available points, and Holt’s victory — with just under 52 per cent of the total available points — came after Arsenault and Gauvin’s second-place votes were counted.
The complex vote-counting system created a see-saw result through the afternoon, as Harvey was ahead in the first two counts until Holt surged to the win after the final tally.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 6, 2022
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