Patrick Brown’s departure from the Progressive Conservative leadership race last week was very chaotic but seems to have improved the campaigns of Christine Elliott and Doug Ford, as Patrick Brown’s former supporters have started to support alternative candidates this week.
Standing by Brown
Ontario’s Tories started voting on Friday in an election that is predicted to be tight. Since Brown stepped down from the race to reclaim the old job that he resigned from, supporters and legislators have stood by Brown and avoided Caroline Mulroney, a newcomer who took a hard line against Brown.
Mulroney was originally seen as being a front-runner in the campaign, and Brown’s only real competition, having raised more than $700,000, compared to Fords’ $64,000 and Elliott’s $122,000. Now that Brown is out, it appears that Elliot and Ford will get the majority of votes. The reason for this prediction is because Mulroney called for Brown to step down, Granic Allen called Brown “corrupt” and MPP Randy Hillier filed a complaint with the integrity commissioner over Brown’s personal finances. Since Patrick Brown’s supporters likely won’t want to associate with anyone who helped undermine his campaign, there are a large number of voters for candidates to try to attract.
Whoever ends up winning the race will have a big job ahead of them. The party has had a very difficult few weeks of infighting and will need to unify in order to beat Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals during the next election in June.
The 6-week campaign has been the shortest in the history of the party and was dominated by Brown up until his withdrawal last week. Since then officials have been coming out in support of the remaining candidates. Senior conservative MPP Toby Barrett, who held the position of caucus chair for Patrick Brown, recently came out in support of Doug Ford, and others are expected to follow this weekend.
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.