Trent Wotherspoon wants to be the leader of the Saskatchewan NDP.
“It’s my full intent to enter into the race to serve as the leader of the Saskatchewan New Democrats,” Wotherspoon, who is the Regina Rosemont MLA, said at a press conference Wednesday morning.
Wotherspoon was appointed interim leader of the NDP after Cam Broten lost his seat in the April 2016 election.
Wotherspoon stepped down from the interim post in June.
“We have a province that’s being dismantled which gives tremendous motivation to do all that we can, and our family’s in a good spot,” Wotherspoon said.
Political professor Jim Farney said Wotherspoon is entering the race with a lot of experience but without a great deal of baggage.
“He did a really good job in the legislature of holding the government to account, but he said he wasn’t going to run as full-time leader doing it. That’s piece of baggage number one,” Farney said. “And I suppose you could think of the carry-on luggage as that he’s run before and lost. Those aren’t really heavy.”
Wotherspoon previously lost to Cam Broten in the 2013 NDP leadership race, and he also trailed Ryan Meili, who’s already declared his leadership ambitions.
“Where the debate will be inside the NDP is Ryan Meili represents a course of change, a turn to the left, a turn to social movements,” Farney said.
“Wotherspoon represents the more kind of Romanow, Calvert wing of the party and what is really an open question is if he can get the current generation of NDP-ers excited enough to select him as leader.”
Farney thinks Wotherspoon’s struggle will be winning the party’s nomination.
“Against almost anybody who’s likely to run for the Sask. Party at this point, it’s hard not to imagine him doing well.”
“Meili is an articulate, charismatic guy with a real vision for change,” Farney said. “Saskatchewan politics has been pretty quiet, but every once in a while you get election periods where people want change.”
The new Sask. Party leader could also have an impact on the NDP race, he said.
“A Trent Wotherspoon-Jeremy Harrison contest would look very different than a Trent Wotherspoon-Tina Beaudry-Mellor contest. That’s the interesting thing about both parties picking leaders right now.”
Wotherspoon said he was declaring his intention to run in the race now so he can start getting organized.
“I need to get signatures from all across the province, so I wanted to state my intentions, start building towards that work,” he said.
The Saskatchewan NDP will select their next leader in May 2018.