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Coleman declines to run for BC Liberal leadership

Solicitor General Rich Coleman said today he will not enter the race to lead the British Columbia Liberal Party.

“It was really about family,” Coleman said on his way into a cabinet meeting in Victoria this morning. “I had the organization, the money, everything was in place. We were actually going to launch probably tomorrow.”

Coleman said he had all the money he would have needed to wage a campaign committed, as well as a plane, but he's happy to be bowing out.

“I looked at it and I said to myself this isn't, in my stomach, what I want to do, not to my family and not to my kids, so I made the decision,” he said. “A number of my friends are pretty upset today, but I'm very happy.”

He spoke about the demands of the job and his reluctance to have to be apart from his family and grandchildren as much as being leader and premier would require.

Coleman said it has been an intense two weeks and he's taking a pause before endorsing anyone else in the race.

He said he had support from some caucus colleagues but would not have asked them to stand on stage beside him as that kind of thing creates divisions in political parites.

Candidates George Abbott and Kevin Falcon have each received endorsements from 10 MLAs, many of whom appeared at their campaign launch events.

Coleman spoke to the press around the same time Attorney General Michael de Jong was launching his campaign for the Liberal leadership in Abbotsford.

Coleman also said he supports the vote on the HST and the public needs to be heard on it, but the government should find more flexibility to help sectors like the food and beverage industry that have been hurt by the tax.

He said he loves his job as an MLA and cabinet minister and intends to run again in the next election, scheduled for 2013.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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