B.C. Conservative Leader John Cummins said the party is not planning on running a candidate in Delta South next spring out of respect for MLA Vicki Huntington.
"We think that Vicki Huntington's done a good job... certainly we share a number of her objectives," Cummins told the Optimist.
He did say, however, the party's decision could change if there's enough pressure from local Conservatives to run a candidate in the riding.
"It's certainly not in our interest at this point," Cummins said.
The provincial Green Party has also decided not to run a candidate in Delta South in next May's election as long as Huntington runs as an independent.
There has been some speculation in recent months that Huntington, who narrowly beat Liberal cabinet minister Wally Oppal in 2009 and turned down overtures from both the Liberals and the NDP before running as an independent, might join the B.C. Conservatives.
Cummins, who is a longtime friend, endorsed her candidacy in the last election. He said he has not approached her about joining the party, but the former longtime Delta MP did say she would be a welcome addition to the fold.
"We'd be tickled pink if she decided to do that."
While flattered by the Conservative decision not to run a candidate in Delta South, Huntington said she is committed to being an independent.
"I'm rather humbled, or honoured, to hear that from John Cummins, who has such a long history in the riding," she said.
Huntington said while there have been no formal talks about her joining the party, she has been approached informally by Conservative members and the public. She said while she has not ruled out joining a party, she is currently committed to remaining independent.
"Being an independent at this time allows you to do what's right for the province," she said.
"I am not opposed to being in a party but I really do feel that democracy is not being served by the parties in B.C. at this time."
The Greens are also likely to be missing from the local ballot next spring.
"We think she's doing a great job," said party leader Jane Sterk, adding any Green Party MLA would be happy to work alongside Huntington in Victoria.
Sterk said the party has also chosen not to run a candidate against independent MLA Bob Simpson in Cariboo North.
Cummins said with eight months to go until the next provincial election, the party is starting to get candidates in place in ridings across the province. The first one was acclaimed last Thursday night, he said, and there are more to come.
"Our goal is a candidate in every riding, with the exception of Delta South," he said.
So far, the NDP's Nic Slater is the only confirmed candidate in the riding. Slater, who came in second to Conservative Kerry-Lynne Findlay in the last federal election, was acclaimed earlier this year.
The local Liberals have yet to choose a candidate and earlier this month Kelly Guichon told the Optimist she is considering dropping out of the race.
Guichon announced her intention to seek the nomination in Delta South last summer.
Tsawwassen resident Bruce Fougner, who runs a Vancouver travel agency, has also declared his intention to run for the Liberal nomination.
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