Langley-Aldergrove MP Mark Warawa is stepping down, and the race to replace him as Conservative candidate has unofficially begun. Black Press Media photo

Conservatives prepare to choose new candidate for Langley-Aldergrove

About a dozen people are considering running for MP Mark Warawa’s job

The race is on to replace departing Conservative Langley-Aldergrove MP Mark Warawa, with the official selection of a new candidate expected this spring.

“There’s been some interesting people that have put their names forward,” said James Pratt, president of the Conservative’s Langley-Aldergrove electoral district association.

The official nomination process won’t open for a few weeks, but Pratt said already between 10 and 12 people have picked up the lengthy nomination form, and a number have set up websites or Facebook pages to campaign for support from their fellow party members.

Warawa announced last year that he would retire from serving in Parliament after the current term. He has been the MP for the Langley riding, later adjusted and renamed Langley-Aldergrove, since 2004.

His departure has set off a flurry of interest among local Conservatives in running for the nomination.

Pratt said it’s unknown how many of the people picking up forms will fill them out and go through with the process, but at least four have already set up a web presence and announced their intention.

Those already campaigning for the nomination include:

• Teresa Townsley, of the Festina Lente Estate Winery

• Kim Houlind, a staffer for Warawa who started her own home cleaning company

• Natalie Hilder, who has a skin care line and has written articles for online publications

• Benjamin Neff, whose Twitter bio describes him as a policy wonk, historian, and consultant

Getting the nomination doesn’t just mean getting the support of local party members.

Those wanting to run must first get 25 signatures from Conservative members, and then be vetted by a Candidate Nomination Committee. Party headquarters in Ottawa has to sign off as well.

The official nomination period, followed by the vote by local members, will take place sometime in the next few weeks, Pratt said.

The goal is to get all the Conservative candidates in place across the country sometime in late April or early May, Pratt said.

His job is to remain neutral during the candidate selection, but Pratt said he was pleased with the people putting their names forward.

“Langley’s been fortunate that we’ve always had a lot of people who have been really interested in the process,” he said, adding that Warawa had “set the bar quite high.”

Some of those putting their names forward have been longtime members of the riding association and volunteers, while others were new to him, but have excellent resumes, Pratt said.

The Cloverdale-Langley City riding has already selected its Conservative candidate, with Tamara Jansen set to take on Liberal incumbent MP John Aldag in the election scheduled for this October.

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