Ford Wins PC Leadership Race

THE CANADIAN PRESS

January 29: Former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford, brother of the notorious late mayor Rob Ford, becomes the first person to declare his candidacy for the party leadership.

Saturday's delay in announcing a victor was the latest in a long list of challenges that have plagued the party since Brown's departure.

In a statement released Sunday afternoon, Hartley Lefton, who chaired the party's leadership election organizing committee, said the party will "be stronger than ever" under Ford's leadership.

The Liberals undoubtedly feel better about trying to overcome their extremely low approval numbers against Mr. Ford than they would have against Ms. Elliott or Caroline Mulroney, and Andrea Horwath's New Democrats surely see an opening for themselves as a less volatile alternative.

Ford's win came after a tumultuous leadership event. To help make sure that a candidate could win votes across Ontario the party allocated 100 points to each of the province's 124 ridings. "Doug Ford has won the "electoral college" with more riding points", but Elliott has more voters.

His announcement was met by jeers and boos from the crowd, with many shouting "shame".

That was evident even in how he campaigned for the PC leadership, particularly in the latter stages as his campaign suggested that party higher-ups were conspiring to keep someone like him from the leadership.

Former MPP Frank Klees, the runner-up to Tim Hudak in the 2009 leadership contest, fumed that "this is not a good night" for the party.

"I'm prepared to support him moving into the June election and I look forward to speaking to him on the issues", Romano told The Sault Star in a telephone interview.

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Ford said he hadn't spoken to Elliott, and vowed to hold a news conference "in the coming days" but gave no specifics. Political party conventions are supposed to be happy, exciting events. But no one was there when all the wrangling was over.

The run-up to Saturday's election was marred by several hiccups, including troubles with voter registration and a failed last-minute attempt by Brown to re-enter the leadership race.

Can anybody trust these machines anymore?

February 16: Brown joins the leadership race with less than an hour to go before a registration deadline. And maybe it's time to throw out the electoral college system that is commonly used in the United States and use a simpler, easier system that simply counts ballots.

Elliott had initially disputed the results of Saturday night's leadership vote, citing "serious irregularities" in the race in which she lost to Ford by a narrow margin. Brown has denied the allegations. "That is why our team took the last twenty-four hours to review the results of an election that was incredibly close", she said in the written statement.

The Toronto Sun examined just that question back on March 3.

Not surprisingly, Kathleen Wynne was somewhat less enthused about it all.

The voting was originally meant to end at 3:30 eastern but was extended by over 2 hours as technical difficulties, a tight race between Doug and Christine, and rumours of one candidate asking for a manual recount plagued the process. "With all of the drama that has engulfed the Tories in the last few weeks, Elliott has proven herself to be the adult in the room the party so desperately needed". But maybe the biggest challenge now is uniting a party that seems torn apart by a leadership convention that produced more questions than answers.

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