So, our newly minted party leader is the 41-year-old MPP for Niagara-West Glanbrook, Tim Hudak. He was considered the front runner from the start of the campaign, taking a quick lead over two-time leadership hopeful MPP Frank Klees, MPP Randy Hillier and MPP Christine Elliott. By voting day, most saw him as a favourite to win on June 27.
And Hudak did not disappoint.
After round one votes were counted, Hudak emerged in first place, closely followed by Klees and Elliott. He widened his lead in round two and won convincingly in round three, garnering more Elliott second-choice votes than many expected: on the third ballot, he needed 5,125 votes to win and got a comfortable 5,606.
Tim Hudak was born at Fort Erie, Ontario on November 1, 1967. In 1990, he earned a bachelor of arts (economics) from University of Western Ontario and a master of arts (economics) from University of Washington in 1993.
Before entering politics, Hudak worked in tourism and economic development. He has been a member of provincial parliament since 1995, serving as Minister of Northern Development and Mines, 1999-2001; Minister of Culture, Tourism and Recreation, 2001-02; and Minister of Consumer and Business Services, 2002-03.
Hudak is married to Deb Hutton—a former chief of staff to Mike Harris—and they have a 20-month-old daughter, Miller.
PC Party of Ontario members voted on Thursday or Sunday, using a preferential ballot where they were asked to rank their top three candidates in order. Of the 43,981 PC party members eligible to vote in this election, a very disappointing 25,424 cast ballots.
The member turn-out on the two voting days signals a clear number two priority for our new leader—his first priority being party unity. The less than 60 per cent level of voter participation does not augur well for the 2011 general election. Party leaders talk often about grassroots, which is well and good so long as you have them. Currently, our roots may be deep, but there certainly aren’t many of them.
Riding associations must be energized to become hyper-active between now and the 2011 general election, for if we wait until the writ is dropped, we will have already ensured Dalton McGuinty his third majority [shudder].
Tim Hudak is reported to have said: “I’m somebody who doesn't believe that we need to choose between being conservatives and winning general elections.” That would not be a bad choice as one of the guiding principles in developing our 2011 election platform.
Hudak ran a very effective campaign, especially with the use of technology. He beat three terrific conservatives and deserved every vote he got. I wish him well.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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