Results of Wild PC Leadership Campaign Delayed

Doug Ford speaks to reporters on a stop in London, March 5, 2018. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

The roller coaster ride continues in the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership race.

Thousands of party faithful gathered at the Hilton Convention Centre in Markham Saturday afternoon hoping to anoint the leader to carry them into the upcoming provincial elections. By 7:30pm, they were walking out disappointed.

Ontario PC Party leadership election committee chairman Hartley Lefton told the crowd that there was a dispute involving ballots in the leadership vote, which throws the outcome of the leadership race in limbo.

Lefton said a review was underway and told the crowd to leave the hall and go home since the venue was needed for another event. The crowd booed the announcement and filed out.

Multiple reports indicated that the results were extremely close, between former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford and former MPP Christine Elliott. However, initial reports stated that the results were held up due to a technical glitch, but it was later reported that the ballots in dispute were putting the results in doubt.

Lefton did promise the crowd that the results would be ready in the “short term”.

Several media organisations reported that Doug Ford was the winner, but due to the closeness of the vote, Elliott’s campaign asked for a manual recount.

Over 64,000 votes were cast electronically by the Friday deadline, according to the Ontario PC Party. The turnout is the biggest in the party’s history.

The electronic votes were printed out on paper ballots, which were run through counting machines.

Saturday night’s events were the latest in a crazy leadership race begun in February by the sudden resignation of Patrick Brown, following a CTV News investigation which reported women accusing Brown of sexual misconduct. Brown has repeatedly denied the allegations and has announced he’ll sue the network, which stands by the story.

The winner of the leadership race will be charged with leading the opposition PC Party in the June election. The party has pledged a united effort to defeat the majority Liberal party, led by Premier Kathleen Wynne.

The other candidates in the race are businesswoman Caroline Mulroney, daughter of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and conservative activist Tanya Granic Allen. Brown had entered the race to reclaim his old job but dropped out.

Keep following for continued updates in the leadership race.