NORTH SIMCOE – Patrick Brown’s first term as Simcoe North’s MPP will be his last.
Severn Township resident Doug Downey, a lawyer and former Orillia councillor, announced Monday he will seek the candidacy for the Progressive Conservative Party in Simcoe North.
According to Downey, Brown told him and other local party members at a Sept. 30 meeting that he has decided to run in the new Barrie–Springwater–Oro-Medonte riding in the 2018 election.
Brown will continue to represent Simcoe North until the 2018 election. Between now and then, the riding association will hold a nomination contest to find a new candidate.
Simcoe.com contacted Brown’s office about his decision not to seek re-election in Simcoe North a year after becoming MPP in a byelection. The PC leader declined comment.
Nick Bergamini, his press secretary, said Brown has always been open about his intention to represent a Barrie riding. He added Brown is “committed to an open nomination process” and does not want to speak to issues surrounding party nominations.
Brown was elected in a September 2015 byelection after Garfield Dunlop, who had represented the riding since 1999, stepped down. Brown served as member of Parliament for Barrie from 2006-14.
When Brown first announced his run for the party’s leadership in 2014, Dunlop expressed concern over the idea of a federal MP running for provincial leader, but later changed his mind.
“When Patrick first entered the race, I thought, ‘Who does he think he is, coming down from Ottawa to take over our caucus?’ I was wrong,” Dunlop said when he announced his resignation last year.
The date and location of the nomination meeting in Simcoe North has not yet been set.
– With files from Frank Matys