Rob Clarke has dropped-out of the running for the SaskParty leadership.
The late incoming candidate is now also the first to leave before party membership votes in January. Clarke said he will now put his support behind Ken Cheveldayoff.
"He could be the best candidate out there," Clarke told paNOW. "Seeing him in the campaign for the leadership, it's reaffirmed my belief... that he can bring the party together, but also address Northern Saskatchewan. He's the only one out there addressing Northern issues."
Clarke believed Cheveldayoff has really listened to members and understands what they want in a premier. This includes both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples of Saskatchewan, which Clarke said is important to him.
He said he may run for leadership in the next election after coming into the leadership fray a bit later than his former opponents. Clarke, a former MP in the Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River riding, announced his bid Nov.15 saying being an Indigenous man from the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and his long experience as both a federal lawmaker and police officer would set him apart from the other SaskParty contenders.
However, he admitted he didn't give himself enough time to gain traction.
"I think if I would have had another three weeks, I would have been one of the front runners. Right now I'm in the middle of the pack. That's great. That makes me look at it in a year down the road where I will run again for leadership," he said.
In the meantime Clarke said he could highlight issues through his support of Cheveldayoff.
"I have always served Saskatchewan from a law enforcement background or a parliamentarian. I feel this is another avenue to bring forward issues and work with Ken to address some of these issues," he said.
There are now five candidates ultimately vying to become Premier of Saskatchewan after Brad Wall's resignation in August: Cheveldayoff, Alanna Koch, Tina Beaudry-Mellor, Gord Wyant and Scott Moe.
The membership votes Jan. 27 to elect their new leader.
On Twitter: @princealbertnow
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