N.S. Tories to choose new party leader from among 5 candidates

Nova Scotia Progressive Conservatives are poised to choose a new leader today at a party convention in Halifax.

Caucus member Tim Houston, Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke, caucus members John Lohr and Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin, and Julie Chaisson, executive director of the Halifax Seaport Market are vying for the top job.

All five spent much of the last 10 months travelling the province to sign up party members, a process that saw more than 11,600 people purchase memberships.

Party officials say more than 75 per cent of the votes have already been cast in advance voting, with voting at the convention slated to begin around 10:30 a.m., and initial results expected around 1:00 p.m.

Houston is the perceived front-runner ahead of the first ballot, with Clarke seen as having the best chance of biting into Houston’s delegate lead.

The new Tory leader will be selected through a vote that will use ranked ballots and weighted ridings.

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