Elliott extends congrats to new PC leader Doug Ford


Ontario PC leadership candidate Tanya Granic Allen speaks with a young supporter during a campaign stop in Windsor-Essex on March 6, 2018.

After what was supposed to be a day that unified the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, chaos loomed for hours before Doug Ford was declared the party's new leader. Ford had garnered 6,202 electoral votes and rival Christine Elliott had 6,049.

Ford was particularly scathing that a "select group" had received the initial verification code by email, rather than by mail, which was how all other party members were supposed to have received it.

Results from the vote were expected by 3 p.m. Saturday, but that was pushed back to 5 p.m. before party officials stated a recount was being carried out after 7 p.m.

Former Tory MPP Frank Klees, who ran for party leadership in 2004 said the episode was the most embarrassing he has seen in his political career.

"Upon an exhaustive review of this list as requested by a campaign - and as permitted under the rules - the integrity of this list of electors was reconfirmed and there was no impact on the results".

"I am ruling out a court challenge I believe that the process that the party has set up is fair", she said.

Elliott's statement followed a meeting with Ford that appeared to put to rest any notion that she would continue a challenge to his win after a chaotic leadership convention on Saturday. Few thought Ford could come from nowhere to take over the PC party, and perhaps fewer can fathom him as Ontario's next premier, but like Trump, the Ford brothers do best when blessed with weak or weakened opponents.

An analysis by Deloitte as well as the Chief Electoral Officer found that statistically, the results would not change, and that Doug Ford would remain the victor.

Ford, a one-term Toronto city councillor and businessman, is the brother of the late Rob Ford.

The day will open with speeches from interim party leader Vic Fedeli and Jason Kenney, the leader of Alberta's provincial conservative party.

After alleging that only select members were receiving their registration code to cast a ballot, Ford got an extension of the voting period with the consent of Mulroney and Granic Allen, though Christine did not agree to this.

Elliott, in an emailed statement from her campaign office, said there were "serious irregularities" in the contest.

Nearly immediately after she conceded, Doug Ford responded on Twitter to thank Elliott.

Lefton dismissed assembled party members from the hall they'd occupied since late Saturday morning, saying the organization no longer had access to the premises.

He says Ford could look to the party itself for an internal review, but that would need the party executive to agree.

The leadership vote climaxed a topsy-turvy, whirlwind election campaign, begun six weeks ago when PC leader Patrick Brown abruptly resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct. "They have to make it a team effort", he said.

According to the party, 64,053 of its almost 190,000 members cast ballots in the race.