The runner-up in the Ontario Progressive Conservative (PC) leadership race is refusing to concede defeat Sunday despite her calls for party unity on Saturday.
Christine Elliott, who has run unsuccessfully twice before for the PC leadership, disputed Ford’s victory when party sources first leaked it to media Saturday afternoon. She insisted on a lengthy recount that kept the party faithful waiting in suspense — and silence from the party executive — for hours, until they finally heard Doug Ford’s name announced as the official winner.
Elliott released a statement late Saturday night, saying she would not concede.
“This evening our campaign was made aware of serious irregularities with respect to this leadership race,” Elliott maintained. “Thousands of members have been assigned to incorrect ridings. In a race this close, largely determined by geography, someone needs to stand up for these members,” Elliott said, adding that she wants “to investigate the extent of this discrepancy.”
Yet before the results of the voting were known, Elliott was telling party supporters, no matter their candidate allegiance, that it was time to patch up any divisions in the party.
“Voting has just wrapped up, and to all who participated in this process — thank you!” Elliott wrote in an email to party members that was obtained by The Daily Caller.
“Now, the hard work begins. We must come together and defeat [Ontario Premier] Kathleen Wynne in the next election. I hope I’ll have the honour of leading our party into the next election. But no matter what happens, we must all be ready to unite behind our new leader and defeat Kathleen Wynne.”
Elliott even offered to put her “team” to work “to raise $25,000 in the next 24 hours to help us get ready” to win the June 7 election.
As far as the party is concerned, Elliott has no path to victory.
“The issue was extensively investigated by the chief electoral officer and the election team,” said leadership campaign chairman Hartley Lefton in a hastily organized news conference Saturday night. He noted that any irregularities “would who not statistically lead to a change in the outcome.”