Doug Ford Elected leader of Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario

Tory MPP Toby Barrett who represents Haldimand-Norfolk

Doug Ford leaves a press conference after being named as the newly elected leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives at the delayed Ontario PC Leadership announcement in Markham, Ont., on Saturday, March 10, 2018.

As of 8 a.m. Friday, 71,402 party members had been verified and the party confirmed that 64,053 members had voted when balloting closed at noon Friday.

Christine Elliott, Caroline Mulroney and Tanya Granic Allen in a tense contest, media reports said.

"I'm prepared to support him moving into the June election and I look forward to speaking to him on the issues", Romano told The Sault Star in a telephone interview. She also claimed that thousands of party members were assigned to incorrect ridings.

After almost 15 years as the province's Official Opposition, the Tories hope their new leader will unite the party in time to defeat Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal government.

Vic Fedeli was chosen as acting party leader by the PC caucus after Brown's resignation and will remain in that position until after the June elections.

"Doug Ford is an antidote to that deeply rooted and growing cynicism, which poses a nightmare for Kathleen Wynne, who personifies that voter discontent", wrote James Wallace.

The PC Party announced late Saturday night that Ford, a former Toronto city councillor, had won the leadership contest on the third ballot.

"Do not let the let the small differences that are inevitable in a leadership campaign distract us from our shared goal".

"We have a lot to do in a very short amount of time", Mr. Ford said before declining to answer questions from reporters.

"Every sport I've ever played, the best teams I've played on, are when the captain or the leader comes in and says what are your best strengths and how do we maximize those?"

MPP Vic Fedeli (Nipissing) was anointed interim leader by his fellow MPPs on January 26 hours before the party executive overruled caucus's wishes and chose to hold a leadership election.

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.

Elliott, a former PC MPP and deputy leader, finished a close second.

A senior party member said of the continued chaos, as well as the spectre of a Ford win: "I hope Kathleen Wynne is getting hammered tonight - she should be celebrating".

Brannan also contended the party would suffer "irreparable harm" by a delay with the provincial election just three months away, reported Crawley.

"BREAKING: I've confirmed from two sources that the Ontario PC Party proposed sending verification codes by email to all members who hadn't received theirs, and all 4 campaigns declined. They can move this in a heartbeat", he said.

"The rules regarding members being required to have their ballot cast and counted in their riding was not followed", spokesperson Melanie Paradis said.

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.

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