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Swan bows out of NDP race

Last Updated: Monday, September 28, 2009 | 1:53 PM CT

Andrew Swan is set to announce he is stepping out of the NDP leadership race.Andrew Swan is set to announce he is stepping out of the NDP leadership race. (Legislative Assembly of Manitoba)

Andrew Swan, one of three candidates in the race for the Manitoba NDP leadership, has withdrawn and thrown his support behind Greg Selinger.

Swan told a news conference Monday that a low turnout at a key delegate-selection meeting Sunday in The Pas put him too far behind in the race, and he can't hope to win.

"To remain in this I needed to get a big showing in The Pas. That didn't develop," he said.

The race to replace outgoing leader and Premier Gary Doer is now between Selinger, MLA from St. Boniface, and Steve Ashton, MLA from Thompson.

Swan, who was the first to throw his hat into the ring earlier this month, made it clear who he would like to see as the next premier.

"I will be supporting Greg Selinger as he runs for leader. I'll do everything I can to have my delegates and my supporters and anybody else support Greg Selinger," he said.

Just last week, Swan earned an endorsement from the Winnipeg Police Association after he promised to get tough on crime. He had also garnered the support of Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Ron Evans.

Two other Swan supporters, cabinet ministers Theresa Oswald and Nancy Allen, declared their support for Selinger on Monday.

Selinger is the party's former finance minister, and Ashton is the former minister in charge of intergovernmental affairs and emergency measures. Like Swan, they resigned from cabinet to seek the party leadership.

Swan is expected to return to his cabinet position as the competitiveness, training and trade minister.

Tight race

Selinger, who is considered by many to be the front runner in the race, said he appreciates the nod of support from Swan but is taking nothing for granted.

"I think it is a tight race. I don't think there's any question it's a tight race," he said. "I think it was a tight race when three of us were in it and in think the race will tighten and we'll have more energy, more excitement as we go forward.

"But I take nothing for granted. I don't think anybody should. These things can change very rapidly, day by day, week by week."

Doer, the party leader since 1988 and premier since 1999, surprised many political observers when he announced on Aug. 27 that he was stepping down.

The next day, he was introduced in Ottawa by Prime Minister Stephen Harper as Canada's next ambassador to the United States.

NDP delegates hold a leadership convention on Oct. 17.

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