Christine Elliott concedes Ontario PC Party leadership to Doug Ford
Ford met with Elliott on Sunday, a day after he narrowly beat her for leadership of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party.
In a statement acknowledging Ford’s victory released Sunday night, Elliott said she conducted a review and is confident in the results of the race.
“The pace of this Ontario PC leadership race has been rapid and there have been a number of unexpected turns along the way,” the statement read. “That is why our team took the last twenty-four hours to review the results of an election that was incredibly close.
“I extend my congratulations to Doug Ford on a hard-fought campaign.”
Elliott initially disputed Saturday’s results, alleging they stemmed from “serious irregularities” in the vote and pledged to investigate further.
Ford made his first public appearance since being announced as leader earlier in the day at Toronto’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. He was all smiles as he walked along Bloor Street shaking hands with parade-goers, many congratulating him on his win.
Ford was announced as leader late Saturday night, seven hours later than the winner was originally scheduled to be heard at a convention centre in Markham, Ont. Party president Jag Badwal said Ford narrowly eked out the win over former provincial legislator Elliott on the third ballot. Elliott finished 153 points behind Ford on the final ballot.
Toronto lawyer Caroline Mulroney placed third, while social conservative advocate Tanya Granic Allen finished last.
The party issued a statement Sunday stating Ford’s win was definitive. It noted that there had been an issue with the allocation of certain electoral votes but the matter was reviewed and resolved.
“These results are definitive and provide a clear mandate to Doug Ford as outlined in our party constitution and the leadership election rules,” said Hartley Lefton, chair of the party’s leadership election organizing committee.
WATCH: Sean Simpson with Ipsos Public Affairs on what polls say are the issues that matter the most to Ontarians.
Ford dismissed Elliott’s concerns at the parade, saying, “We’re focused on Kathleen Wynne right now.”
“We’re going to work hard and we’re going to bring prosperity back to Ontario.”
More than 64,000 votes were cast in the hastily organized leadership race.
The contest was launched in late January after former leader Patrick Brown resigned abruptly amid allegations of sexual misconduct, which he has denied.
WATCH: Kathleen Wynne on Doug Ford PC leadership win: It doesn’t matter who I’m running against
Current premier and Liberal leader Wynne responded to the results of the election while speaking at the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation’s annual general meeting at the Sheraton Centre on Sunday.
“Quite frankly, it actually doesn’t matter which of the candidates was chosen last night. Because if we look at the platform that they were sensibly running on, there were billions of dollars of cuts that were going to come forward,” she said.
“We’ve absolutely seen this movie before, whether it was Doug Ford or Christine Elliot or Tanya Granic Allen or Caroline Mulroney, they all were supporting a platform that would have taken billions of dollars out of public sector workers.”
Ford said his focus this week will be getting his team together.
“We’ll have some meetings and we’ll have a strong game plan moving forward for the people of Ontario.”
The provincial election is set for June 7.
–With files from The Canadian Press
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.