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Former candidate backs Mulcair as attack website surfaces in NDP race

Leadership contender Thomas Mulcairholds a news conference with NDP MP Don Davies and labour leader Art Kube in Vancouver on Jan. 11, 2012.

Rafal Gerszak/rafal gerszak The Globe and Mail

One of the candidates who bowed out of the NDP leadership race has thrown his support behind frontrunner Thomas Mulcair.

Robert Chisholm, a rookie MP and former leader of the Nova Scotia provincial new Democrats, announced on Wednesday that his Quebec colleague was his first choice to succeed Jack Layton.

"Having led our party to an Official Opposition breakthrough in Nova Scotia, I understand the challenge that lies ahead for our next leader better than most," Mr. Chisholm said in a statement. "Tom has the ability to reach out and unite progressives of every stripe, and you only have to watch him in action to understand how effective he will be in every region of the country."

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Mr. Chisholm is the 41st member of the federal NDP caucus to support Mr. Mulcair, who has been ahead of the other candidates in .

But not everyone is a fan. Someone, perhaps in another camp, has created a web page urging New Democrats to " ." It takes shots at Mr. Mulcair for actions he has taken as a provincial cabinet minister in Quebec's Liberal government, as Mr. Layton's lieutenant in that province and also for his "unbalanced" support of Israel.

The race, which has been relatively genial as political contests go, is getting a little nastier as the decision day of March 24 draws near.

Meanwhile, several of the candidates have to the nearly 130,000 party members who will receive voting packages this week. Toronto MP Peggy Nash is among them. Her brochure tells New Democrats that she is a "Fighter. Leader. Builder."

Over at the website Pundit's Guide, Alice Funke has using internal polls conducted for Paul Dewar, an Ottawa MP who is also a candidate.

Running through one scenario that could play out given the preferential ballot, which asks voters to rank candidates from one through seven, Ms. Funke shows one way that Mr. Mulcair could win on the sixth ballot.

While acknowledging that any number of factors could change the results, Ms. Funke says the chances of any another candidate beating Mr. Mulcair will depend on their placing even slightly ahead of their competitors, and hoping the rest of the candidates drop off in the most opportune order.

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"For Peggy Nash," she says, "she is the leading second choice of Brian Topp's and Paul Dewar's supporters, but also Thomas Mulcair's in this poll. So long as Mulcair places ahead of her, she will never get to claim that tranche of support, and thus her overall second-choice tally is misleading. She could win if Mulcair were behind her, but has a much harder path to victory if he's ahead."

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Gloria Galloway has been a journalist for almost 30 years. She worked at the Windsor Star, the Hamilton Spectator, the National Post, the Canadian Press and a number of small newspapers before being hired by The Globe and Mail as deputy national editor in 2001. Gloria returned to reporting two years later and joined the Ottawa bureau in 2004. More

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