VICTORIA – Former Parksville mayor Ed Mayne abandoned his long-shot bid for the B.C. Liberal leadership Thursday, following Vancouver-Langara MLA Moira Stilwell to endorse George Abbott.
A late entry into the contest and a political unknown outside his home town, Mayne said he understood from the beginning he didn't have the money or organization to win the top job.
"We knew first off that we wouldn't have the depth of pockets necessary to get our message out," Mayne said. "We couldn't hire the public relations firms and the media people that are necessary to do this, so we did the best we could with what we had."
Abbott, Stilwell and other MLAs supporting the Abbott campaign offered Mayne a warm welcome. Mayne said he is interested in seeking a B.C. Liberal nomination for the next election, and his increased profile should help him.
The Parksville-Qualicum seat is currently held by B.C. Liberal Ron Cantelon.
Mayne described Abbott as "a fellow small-town guy" who offers the best chance for the B.C. Liberals to remain united and win the next election scheduled for 2013.
Abbott said he values Mayne's business experience as a former vice-president of Tim Hortons restaurants, and Mayne's campaign commitment to address poverty.
The withdrawal of Mayne and Stilwell leaves four candidates in the race to succeed Premier Gordon Campbell: Abbott, Kevin Falcon, Mike de Jong and Christy Clark.
Nearly 90,000 party members will vote by phone and Internet on Feb. 26, with the winner sworn in as premier in early March.