Ever thought about running for a federal seat?
The deadline is next Thursday for Conservative candidates to submit their papers for the new riding of Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam, which is up for grabs because MP James Moore is not running for re-election.
The electoral district already has two potential contenders: Coquitlam-Burke Mountain BC Liberal MLA Doug Horne, who's set to make his candidacy official early next week, and Andy Shen, who has unsuccessfully run for Coquitlam council three times was expected to file his nomination papers Thursday.
Horne, who was first elected MLA in 2009 and re-elected in 2013, and is the deputy speaker in the legislature, told The Tri-City News on Wednesday he believes he's the best bet for the riding given his long party membership, his friendship with Moore and his past work in the House of Commons.
He said he recently informed Premier Christy Clark he would be taking a leave from his MLA's job to launch a federal campaign. And he stressed leaving his provincial position has nothing to do with Clark's leadership or BC Liberals.
Horne, 48, acknowledged that, if he wins the riding in this fall's federal election, he would prompt a costly by-election for taxpayers; however, Horne said he wants Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam to "to continue to have good, strong representation in Ottawa."
Asked who might fill his provincial shoes should he win, Horne said: "There's a lot of great people locally that would do a great job. One of the things that I've been working on very, very hard at is the schools on Burke Mountain. We have a good plan now by the levels of government working together so one of the most important things is to make sure we get someone in place that will continue to work forward with that plan like we had hoped."
Horne also said he has endorsements for his federal bid from Coquitlam city councillors Dennis Marsden, Terry O'Neill and Mae Reid.
Shen, 26, said he's been on leave since late June from his constituency work with Conservative MP Wai Young (Vancouver South) and he has been knocking on doors to sign up members to secure his vote at the nomination meeting, due to be held in September.
A Conservative party member for six years, Shen said he believes he has the advantage over Horne. "I've got enough people who supported me in the city elections because, when I knock on doors, I'm not like the other politician in meeting someone new," Shen said. "People clearly remember me from the last municipal election."
Shen said he failed to win a civic seat in last fall's general election because he wasn't able to raise enough cash for his campaign. "I'm the candidate who spent the least amount of money but I'm the most efficient. Obviously, I didn't work hard enough on the PR part and, if I did, I would have gotten the 1,900 votes I needed to win."
Last month, Moore announced he would be quitting politics to spend more time with his family. The riding is being contested by NDP candidate Sara Norman, the Liberals' Ron McKinnon and Brad Nickason of the Green Party of Canada.