Gay mayor enters Tory race

A prominent Nova Scotia mayor has officially kicked off his campaign to become the province's next Tory leader.

Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke announced that he was entering the provincial Progressive Conservative leadership race at the North Sydney Firefighters Club on Saturday afternoon.

Clarke, who formerly served in the provincial legislature for a decade, thanked his Facebook followers prior to Saturday's announcement for their supportive messages since he publicly came out as gay two days ago.

The 49-year-old politician shared details about his private life in an interview with the CBC on Thursday, saying someone had threatened to reveal his sexual orientation and he didn't want anyone thinking they could hold it over him.

His two challengers in the leadership race, Tim Houston, the MLA for Pictou East, and John Lohr, the member for Kings North, have both tweeted condemnations of personal attacks in the campaign.

Jamie Baillie announced late last year that he planned to step down as PC leader and leave politics, but his departure came sooner than expected last month when he resigned following an allegation of inappropriate behaviour.

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