Fraser-Nicola MLA Harry Lali has dropped out of the contest to lead the B.C. NDP, saying he can't raise enough money to be competitive.
Lali didn't repeat his earlier protest against the financial rules set by the party, which included a $15,000 entry fee and a requirement to split all leadership funds raised 50-50 with the provincial party.
When the rules were announced, Lali blasted the party for putting the costs of the leadership out of reach of ordinary people, and even compared the NDP to the Republican Party in the U.S., where millions are spent to campaign.
Announcing his decision to drop out Thursday at the legislature, Lali said his heart is in the contest, but reviewing his budget he came to the conclusion it's not his time.
"In order to run a competitive NDP leadership campaign, one needs to spend well over $100,000, which means one has to raise at least $215,000," Lali said. "That isn't going to happen for me."
Lali's departure leaves his fellow MLAs Mike Farnworth, John Horgan, Adrian Dix and Nicholas Simons in the race, along with North Vancouver marijuana activist Dana Larsen.
Horgan announced Thursday he has gained the endorsement of Cowichan Valley MLA Bill Routley, joining fellow MLAs Scott Fraser, Kathy Corrigan and Maurine Karagianis.
Party members will vote in April for a new leader to replace Carole James, who was pushed out in a caucus revolt that included Lali.