The Tories are ahead of the rest as the first to name a candidate, and have immediately gone on the offensive... against their own Party Leader and Prime Minister, David Cameron.
Maria Hutchings, it's fair to say, is not from the Cameroon wing of the Conservative Party. Even at the 2010 General Election, her stance on Policy was definitely more right-wing than the average Tory, including a call for a 10 week limit on Abortion, a disdainful attitude towards minorities, and a public declaration of "I'm-not-a-toff" that you could be forgiven for thinking came from the member for Mid Bedfordshire.
It's a bizarre circumstance that the Conservatives - who make up five-sixths of the Coalition - have chosen a candidate who appears opposed to it and its leader. As well as declaring against Gay Marriage, Lords Reform and Abortion rights - all key elements of the Cameroon modernisation agenda and part of the Tory General Election Manifesto she fought the last election in support of - she's effectively pre-rebelled against the housing and infrastructure policies of the Government she's campaigning to be a part of.
On this evidence, it's the Tories who are running as the "internal opposition" of the Coalition. It will be interesting to see who is selected - within the next few hours - as the Liberal Democrat Candidate, and if they will be as supportive of the coalition as Chris Huhne undoubtedly was.
It's bizarre, but the option might really be; if you want to support the Tory PM and the Coalition, don't vote for the Tory Candidate - vote LibDem!