Conservative nominee John Koury pulling out of race

Koury endorsing new candidate Martin Baker to take his place in election.

John Koury

John Koury

John Koury, the Conservative Party`s nominee for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, recently announced that he would be dropping out of the race to be become the new riding`s first Member of Parliament.

Koury announced his decision last Monday (August 17).

“It is with mixed feelings that I make this decision today to withdraw from the nomination process,” he said in a release. “Many people in the community have expressed their hope that I will run in the nomination and I am sorry to have to let them know that I will not contest the nomination.”

Koury explained his decision, citing “family needs” as the main factor for his withdrawal.

“It is clear to me that my family needs me at this critical juncture to advocate for our son with special needs who is transitioning into adulthood,” he said. “Also, I have had several opportunities in the private and public service that, in order to pursue, I must do so unencumbered by partisan political work.”

With the vote to decide his successor approaching, Koury said that he will be endorsing Martin Baker to take his place following Saturday’s (August 29) vote.

“I believe strongly that Martin Barker has the best chance of the remaining nominees to win this seat,” he said. “He has demonstrated his ability to garner the right support in Langford to compliment his knowledge of Cowichan and he has the ability to articulate the virtues of Stephen Harper’s conservative economic agenda and that is what makes him the best choice.”

Koury ran as a Conservative candidate in Nanaimo-Cowichan in the 2011 election and for mayor of North Cowichan in the municipal elections last autumn, after serving two consecutive terms as a councillor. Koury’s aspirations in federal politics date back to 1997, when he first ran for Reform Party candidacy.

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford is made up of portions of the Nanaimo-Cowichan and Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca ridings. Neither of the former electoral districts have been held by a Conservative candidate since the 2004 election, when New Democrat Jean Crowder was elected in Nanaimo-Cowichan and Conservative Keith Martin crossed the floor to sit with the Liberal Party in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca.

With the new electoral boundaries being introduced for the federal election in October, the Conservatives seem to have a better shot of filling the seat. Redistributed results from the 2011 election, show the party at a close second with 20,565 votes (43.06 per cent), just behind the NDP’s 20,818 votes (43.59 per cent). However, poll aggregate Three Hundred Eight, which takes into account data from several different polls, estimated that Koury and the Conservative Party’s support to sit at 27 per cent, far behind the NDP’s 50.7 per cent. With the new Conservative candidate being chosen this weekend, along with the abnormally long campaign period only just underway, there could be a shift in voter intention by October 19.