The riding of Moncton Centre is shaping up to be a battleground, as former Liberal MLA Chris Collins vies to return to his seat by running as an independent.
Collins, who had been a Liberal for more than 11 years, split from the party after highly-publicized harassment claims and a dispute with Premier Brian Gallant.
“I feel liberated. I feel there is a lot of things that I did not agree with that the Liberal party was doing and now I can be me,” Collins told Global News.
This past spring, Gallant disclosed workplace harassment allegations against Collins, who was also speaker of the New Brunswick legislature.
A third-party investigator later determined that the allegations were “founded in part.”
Collins issued a public apology in July, saying that while most of the allegations were not founded, a few comments he found humorous or inoffensive may not have been construed the same way by others.
WATCH: Speaker of New Brunswick legislature apologizes for comments that were deemed as harassment
He won’t reveal exactly what happened because he says he is planning to file a lawsuit over the handling of the allegations.
“It will be coming out in the fact that we will be proceeding with action against the premier of the province with regards to the way he handled this affair,” he said.
Political scientist Don Wright says running and winning as an independent is typically an uphill battle.
“They are just a name on a sign. Having said that, Chris Collins is a well-known person in Moncton and in some circles as much, an admired figure. He could pull it off,” Wright said.
READ MORE: Moncton Centre riding profile
Meanwhile, Moncton Centre is a seat the Liberals will be fighting to keep. Their candidate is Moncton city councillor, Rob McKee.
The PC candidate is Claudette Boudreau-Turner, who has deep ties to the local business community.
The NDP’s Jessica Caissie, the Green Party’s Jean Marie Nadeau and Kevin McClure for the People’s Alliance round out the ticket.
– With files from Shelley Steeves