A longtime Liberal communications specialist and author has become the second contender in the leadership race for the provincial Liberal party.
Dougald Lamont handed in his nomination papers Wednesday at the Manitoba Liberal Party headquarters and began the process of convincing party members he has the mettle to lead the party in the next provincial election, expected in spring 2015.
Lamont, 44, said he's running because he believes there is potential for the party to build on its one seat and have a greater influence.
"When I look at the options for Manitoba, I think the NDP is tired and worn out," Lamont said.
"Manitoba needs a change. That doesn't include a sharp right turn under (Progressive Conservative Leader) Brian Pallister."
Lamont also said he wants to focus on opportunities for young people and the growing gap between the rich and poor.
He is the owner of Jetpack Media, an advertising agency and communications business he has been running since 2006.
In past elections, he has worked for the provincial Liberals as a communications officer and for the federal Liberals as a campaign adviser for Manitoba-based candidates.
Lamont is married with four children and is the author of two sci-fi fantasy books for young readers: The Jinx and Three Dreams Deep.
Winnipeg lawyer Rana Bokhari announced her intention July 22 to seek the Liberal leadership.
Winnipeg businessman Robert Young, who had intended to run, now says he wants to instead focus on his role as the party's vice-president. He has endorsed Bokhari.
"In my opinion, a leader needs something to lead," Young said. "My intention was, and always will be, to build something viable."
The leadership convention is Oct. 26.
The Liberals are trying to find a replacement for Jon Gerrard, who announced his resignation after the 2011 election that saw the party win only one seat out of 57 and 7.5 per cent of the popular vote, down from two seats and 12 per cent of the vote in 2007.
However, the party appears to be benefiting from the decline in NDP support, according to a June poll by Probe Research.
The poll said 17 per cent of Manitobans surveyed said they would vote Liberal.
The numbers don't suggest a Liberal surge similar to the one by leader Sharon Carstairs in 1988, when the party won 20 seats.
-- Bruce Owen