Television personality Seamus O’Regan is planning to run for the Liberal nomination in the district of St. John’s South-Mount Pearl, one day after businessman Jim Burton announced that he won’t be seeking the nomination.
The timing is just “very coincidental” according to Burton.
“I’m just hearing about it for the first time. I’m in Labrador here today. I’ve been a month with this decision. It’s not something I made lightly to step down. It’s purely business for me,” Burton said.
O’Regan is a former CTV news correspondent and former co-host of CTV’s “Canada AM.” He’s also a mental health advocate and a friend of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
Multiple sources confirmed Monday O’Regan was planning on making the run for the Liberals. He hasn’t publicly confirmed it yet, but on Twitter he certainly wasn’t downplaying the media reports about his political future.
O’Regan shared a posting from comedian Mark Critch, who said, “Excited (Seamus O’Regan) is running for the Liberals. Not because I think he’d be good, I just need more pasty white newfs to play.”
Burton said he hadn’t heard about O’Regan running before he got the call from The Telegram.
“This is the first I’ve heard of this. He’d be a wonderful candidate,” he said. “Well, he’s a wonderful man. You know, he’s a Newfoundlander. He’s a Labradorian. I know him because I grew up in Labrador.”
Burton said his life is just too busy between running Remax Infinity along with a small airline and two fishing lodges in Labrador.
For months, Burton was the only person who had publicly declared interest in seeking the Liberal nomination in St. John’s South-Mount Pearl.
The party hasn’t formally called nominations in the riding yet. The next federal election is scheduled for fall 2015.
Burton wouldn’t rule out a run for political office in the future, but said he just can’t make it happen right now.
St. John’s South-Mount Pearl is currently represented by NDP MP Ryan Cleary. Cleary said he’s absolutely committed to running in the 2015 election, and he wasn’t really interested in talking about O’Regan.
“I am running for the people of
St. John’s South-Mount Pearl if they’ll have me,” he said. “I want to stand by my record. I don’t want to attack Seamus O’Regan. I don’t want to attack Trudeau.”
Cleary said he was talking to his mother on Monday about the announcement, and she told him it’s sort of a compliment.
After all, she said, O’Regan is sort of a star candidate for the Liberals.