Cullen Not Running for Re-election in October

Skeena-Bulkley Valley will have a new Member of Parliament after the October federal election.

Veteran New Democrat Nathan Cullen announced in Smithers today that he will not run for re-election in October.

The NDP riding association will meet soon to begin the process of choosing a new candidate.

Other parties have already announced their candidates for election -- former Kitimat Councillor Claire Rattee is running for the Conservatives, while Rod Taylor will again represent the Christian Heritage Party.

The Liberals have not yet announced a candidate.

Cullen was first elected in 2004, defeating Conservative MP Andy Burton by about 1300 votes. 

That was his closest electoral win -- in four subesquent elections, he cruised to victory.

In the 2015 election, he picked up over 51 per cent of the vote. 

This makes 13 of the 44 New Democrats elected in 2015 who have announced they won't be running again.

[PHOTO:  Nathan Cullen at this week's Justice Committee Hearings, listening to testimony from Jody Wilson-Raybould]
 

Cullen's departure is a blow to NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who just won his own seat in the House of Commons in a Burnaby byelection earlier this week.
    
Had Singh lost the byelection, Cullen would have come under heavy pressure to run for leader.