BROCKVILLE, Ont. -- Jennifer Cossitt, widow of the late Parliamentary gadfly Thomas Cossitt, won the Conservative nomination Saturday to contest the seat held by her husband.
Mrs. Cossitt, 34, took a fifth-ballot victory at a nominating convention of the Leeds-Grenville Conservative Riding Association in the town of Prescott, Ont., gaining 262 votes.
Brockville lawyer Robert Barr, her closest opponent in the field of nine hopefuls, got 196 votes. Sandra Lawn, mayor of Prescott, Ont., came in third but dropped out after taking only 129 votes in the fourth ballot.
The seat, for which no by-election has yet been called, was left vacant when veteran MP Cossitt, a fierce and feisty enemy of the Liberal administration of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, died of a heart attack March 15.
Mrs. Cossitt's campaign for the nomination stressed the fact she had served as her husband's executive assistant for the past nine years.
Mrs. Cossitt assured her supporters she was 'strong enough to stand in the House of Commons and make sure the riding is not forgotten.'
'I will continue to give every ounce of representation that the riding had before,' she said.
The importance with which the Conservatives view the riding was evidenced by the heavy Tory guns who attended the nomination meeting - notably Conservative leader Joe Clark, Kingston and the Islands MP Flora MacDonald and MP Walter Baker.
Clark took the opportunity to fire several verbal barrages at the government, which he said comprised 'a gang of thugs and a mob of incompetants.'
The last Liberal to hold the Leeds-Grenville seat was judge John Matheson, who won a by-election in 1964.