By Helen Surgenor
The battle for the provincial Liberal leadership is heating up as new candidates enter the race.
Former Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Sandra Pupatello raised eyebrows when she announced Thursday she will be vying for the top job in the Ontario Liberal party.
Pupatello, who will be coming out of retirement to enter the leadership race, said she will not immediately bring back the prorogued legislature if she wins.
“I plan to have a seat in the house before (the) house would open,” she said, confirming that her long-time friend and fellow Windsorite, Dwight Duncan, said he would vacate his seat for her to run in a by-election.
Although she’s had similar offers from Liberals across the province, she said “if I could choose, I’d like to take a seat from the opposition.”
However, with the party losing some of its base to the NDP in the last election, a left-of-centre candidate might be what the party needs to regain some of its lost seats, said George Hawtin, long-time Liberal and former president of the Oshawa Provincial Liberal Association.
LISTEN: Hawton tells Humber News why the Liberals aren’t threatened by Tory leader Tim Hudak
Finance Minister Dwight Duncan tweeted Tuesday that he was convinced Pupatello would lead the party to victory if a snap-election was called after the January 2013 leadership convention.
The minister use his Tuesday tweet to out his former colleague’s decision to run.
It will be fun watching Hudak concede to Sandra and Harper concede to Justin at the next general elections.
— DwightDuncan (@DwightDuncan) November 7, 2012
Pupatello is the third, but likely not the final candidate to throw her hat into the ring.
It is expected that Charles Sousa, the MPP for Mississauga South, will resign as minister of citizenship and immigration later this week in order to enter the race.
The deadline for would-be premiers to add their name to the list of challengers is Nov. 23.