“No…I’m not running…I will not at this time be seeking the leadership of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador,” Mr. Simms told The Beacon Friday afternoon while waiting for a flight to take him from St. John’s to Gander.
“It was a more personal thing than anything else in why I decided this. I was quite honoured and privileged to be considered and (then) asked to seek the leadership, but the time just isn’t right for me now.”
For the past three weeks, Mr. Simms has been wooed by provincial Liberal supporters on numerous fronts, including in-person, telephone conversations and emails, to accept the challenge of becoming the Party’s leader — and possibly the next Premier.
However, he said he had similar correspondence with supporters along the way hoping he would stay in his current seat, and continue to work in Ottawa on behalf of the people of Bonavista-Gander-Grand Falls-Windsor.
“The feedback I got on both sides of the issue was great, and I certainly appreciate and thank the people who I talked to on both sides,” he said. “It (the decision) got tougher as the time went on, and more people gave me advice…There’s a lot of life in the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador…maybe a lot more than I had anticipated.
“In the end, it came down to what was best for me personally at this time in my life.”
To find out more on Mr. Simms decision and his future plans, read the next print edition of The Beacon on Feb. 14.