Support has grown for MPP Christine Elliott in her bid to become leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario as one of her rivals drops out of the race to endorse her.
Vic Fedeli, MPP for Nippising, suspended his leadership bid on Wednesday to support Elliott. They both stood shoulder-to-shoulder together at Elliott’s campaign office at Yonge St. and St. Clair Ave. Fedeli called Elliott’s vision “optimistic” and “positive.”
“I believe Christine Elliott can go toe to toe with Kathleen Wynne and defeat her and the Liberals in 2018,” Fedeli said in a letter to his supporters posted on his website. “That is why today, I am withdrawing from this leadership contest and I am joining Christine and her team. I am committed to working with Christine to ensure that she is the next Premier of Ontario.”
Fedeli cites not having enough memberships and money as reasons he chose to drop out.
“As you know I’m a numbers guy and a pragmatist,” Fedeli said. “I’ve added up the numbers and simply put, I don’t see them being there for me to win this leadership race.”
According to donations filed with Elections Ontario, Fedeli raised $156,650 — a distant second behind Elliott who has raised $515,000.
Fedeli thanked his volunteers, donors and supporters and encouraged them to unite behind Elliott.
Elliott welcomed Fedeli’s endorsement.
“Vic and I share the progressive conservative values that make our party great,”Elliott said. “We share the firm belief that fiscal responsibility and social compassion can, and must, go hand in hand.”
Elliott has the support of 12 of her caucus colleagues now, the most of any of the other leadership candidates.
MPPs Lisa MacLeod and Monte McNaughton, as well as MP Patrick Brown, are also running to replace Tim Hudak as PC Party leader. The party lost nine seats in last year’s electio,n which gave Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals a majority government.
PC Party members elect their new leader on May 3 and 7. The leader will be announced at the leadership convention on May 9 at the Toronto Congress Centre.