John Hamm never set out to be premier of Nova Scotia.
When he was elected to Province House in 1993, he was the only new member of the nine-man Progressive Conservative caucus, elected as much on his local popularity as a respected physician as on the residual strength of the Tory party in Pictou County.
No one thought that he would be more than a caretaker leader of the party when he took over in 1995, largely because no one else who wasn't already tainted by association with John Buchanan's scandal-plagued government wanted it.
No one thought that when he pulled the plug on the minority Liberal government of Russell MacLellan in 1999, that he would survive an unwanted summer election which everyone expected Robert Chisholm's NDP to win.
No one thought that he could balance the provincial budget and make a deal with the feds for Nova Scotia's fair share of offshore oil and gas royalties.
While he leaves the Tories with a minority government, he leaves the party dominant in the rural mainland while the NDP remains locked in Metro Halifax and the Liberals have retrenched to Cape Breton.
John Hamm was a far more effective premier and party leader than anyone could have foreseen in 1995. Perhaps there is something to be said for not having burning ambition for higher office and sparkling charisma.