Hamilton's political land- scape has shifted dramatically on what may be the eve of a federal election.
Getting a jump on rumours she was ready to bow out, Hamilton Mountain Liberal MP Beth Phinney said she will not be seeking re-election after 17 years in office.
Phinney, her voice briefly choking with emotion, made the announcement yesterday evening at a potluck fundraiser before some 45 surprised supporters.
She told the group she's retiring to spend more time with family and to enjoy life after so many years of public service.
Her move not only opens up the race on the Mountain, it creates an opportunity for other Liberals who may want a crack at filling her shoes, notably city Councillor Bill Kelly, who has represented Ward 7 on the central Mountain for eight years.
It's no secret Kelly, who is also a CH TV host, has ambitions to move up to a senior level of government.
He could not be reached last night. But contacted a few hours before Phinney's swan song, Kelly said he was solidly behind her as long as she wanted the job.