Second ballot results
In Markham, ON they’re announcing first ballot results. I’ll keep you posted.
First ballot results
Total votes 10348
With 35/107 ridings reporting
Randy Hillier’s team has given me an exclusive first look at their new ad. Here it is.
Here is the original Reagan ad. I think they matched it quite well.
I received news this evening that the PC Party had moved to prohibit recording devices from a leaders debate to occur today in London. I’ve verified with a reporter covering the race that this indeed was the case. The Elliott and Hudak campaigns were quick to protest the decision. Here are their emails (forwarded to me by the respective campaigns).
The Elliott campaign,
Dear, Christine, Janet, Michael and Tom:
It has recently been brought to my attention that the Party intends to restrict journalists from recording video or audio of the upcoming debates.
On behalf of the Christine Elliott Campaign, I would like to express my sincere disappointment with this decision. It is not in the best interests of the public or the P.C. Party of Ontario to impede journalists from carrying out their responsibilities. We ought to be showcasing the great ideas and individuals in this contest.
There are several problems with this decision. For one, why would we want to deny party members who can’t attend the debates from getting information through their local media outlet? Additionally, by restricting video and audio coverage of these debates we are missing the opportunity to promote the P.C. Party, our values and our principles.
I would ask you to seriously reconsider your position on this as I believe that it will be detrimental, not only to the leadership campaign, but to the P.C. Party overall. I don’t believe this is the message we want to be sending to our friends in the media or to the public at large.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Christine Elliott Campaign
and the Hudak campaign,
From: Lesley Harmer
Sent: Wed 5/20/2009 5:14 PM
To: RBenzie@thestar.ca; John.McGrath@cbc.ca; firstname.lastname@example.org; KHowlett@globeandmail.com; SMallen@GlobalTV.Com; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Cc: Jeremy Adams; Mike Low
Subject: Ontario PC Party London Debate
Please note, it came to our attention this morning that the party would not allow recording devices during the debate tomorrow. We do not support this decision. Our official agent is conveying that to the PC party of Ontario. We believe the media should have open access to the debates.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Tim Hudak Campaign
Finally, I’ve heard that the party will go ahead and allow reporters to use recording devices during the debate.
UPDATE: This is confirmed. Here is the media advisory from the party.
From: Wilson, Michael J.
Sent: Thursday, May 21, 2009 10:34 AM
To: Wilson, Michael J. [PCPO]
Subject: Media Advisory: Ontario PC Party London Debate * Update
**Important notice to the media, revised debate protocol
Camera and recording equipment allowed
ONTARIO PC LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES KICK-OFF DEBATES IN LONDON
Toronto, ON- Ontario Progressive Conservative Party Leadership Candidates will be available to speak to the media following the first in a series of provincial debates.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
6:00 p.m.: Media registration
7:30 p.m.: Debate begins
10 minutes following the end of the Debate: Candidate media availability
University of Western Ontario
Arthur & Sonia Labatt Health Sciences Building
Candidate Media Availability to follow in HSB 9 (Room Location)
Note: Only accredited media and those holding debate tickets will be permitted to attend the event.
Debate speaking order will be as follows:
1. Randy Hillier
2. Christine Elliott
3. Frank Klees
4. Tim Hudak
1. Frank Klees
2. Tim Hudak
3. Randy Hillier
4. Christine Elliott
Media Availability order will be as follows: (5 minutes each)
1. Randy Hillier
2. Christine Elliott
3. Tim Hudak
4. Frank Klees
Christine Elliott is the money leader so far in this leadership race rounding out the pack of four leadership contenders. Membership sales closed days ago and the campaign enters its persuasion phase.
|Candidate||Christine Elliott||Frank Klees||Tim Hudak||Randy Hillier|
A few observations are noteworthy. The Hudak campaign had claimed at membership cut off time that donations would surpass $200,000. Since we are about 5 days past the close of membership sales and noting that donations must be declared within 10 days, the campaign may have indeed raised $200k by the membership cutoff date. Despite this, the Elliott campaign more than doubles the Hudak campaign in fundraising contributions. Frank Klees, who is the perceived front-runner in membership sales checks in with a disappointing $62,517. He’ll need to raise a lot more in order to effectively convert the thousands of memberships that he’s reportedly sold come (leadership) election day. Randy Hillier makes a respectful showing with $91,809, a sum that includes two donations from federal MP Scott Reid ($30,000) and himself ($25,000).
Cumulatively, the four PC leadership contenders have so far taken in 16 donations of $10,000 or over. Here they are:
|CIC Developments Inc.||$25,000.00||ELLIOTT|
|Cougs Investments Ltd.||$25,000.00||ELLIOTT|
|Shiplake Management Company||$25,000.00||HUDAK|
|Pace Credit Union||$20,000.00||KLEES|
|Howard Holdings Corp||$10,000.00||ELLIOTT|
|Steane Consulting Ltd.||$10,000.00||HUDAK|
|Mass Insurance Brokers Ltd.||$10,000.00||KLEES|
All data accurate from Elections Canada as of 9:15pm EST May 19th, 2009
Membership sales for voting eligability for the Ontario PC leadership race closed last night and there have been reports and boasts from various campaigns as to their numbers. A source close to the party called me tonight and passed on the following information.
Before the leadership race began, party membership stood at 8,500 members. Through the PC Party website and through late submissions from riding associations who have re-sync’d their numbers with the central party office, that number has risen to 15,000. These new memberships are not attributed to any campaign.
The surprise news is that Frank Klees sold the most memberships compared to the other candidates, according to my source. Klees has reportedly sold about 9,000 new memberships for the party. Upon further analysis, this may not be so surprising as Klees sold more memberships in the 2004 contest as than anyone did in this one; Klees has the benefit of old lists of supporters that he could call upon. Thus, the quality of the memberships is a bit suspect and it is unknown as to whether he’ll be able to get these members out to vote. Klees’ membership numbers are concentrated in York and Peel regions.
Christine Elliott apparently is in second place with about 8,000 new memberships sold. Elliott’s membership base is fairly spread out but has high concentration in Toronto, 905, Windsor and some in SW Ontario. Elliott’s campaign is reportedly dead in the Niagara region.
Tim Hudak, of course, is very strong in the Niagara region. Further, his numbers show strength in Hamilton and fairly strong in Peel region. Hudak comes in at just under 7,000, according to my source.
Randy Hillier rounds out the pack with about 3,100 memberships sold. No surprise, Hillier is strong in eastern Ontario but is quite weak in the other regions.
Do these numbers give us any insight as to who might win this? In my opinion, not too much. 6,500 memberships were sold through the party website and I know some campaigns, such as the Hudak campaign have aggressively sold online and via the party site. On the other hand, I’ve heard that the Elliott campaign has polled well among the already established 8,500 members.
I think that we can make a few conclusions:
– there are no hard conclusions except to say this may be anyone’s race except for Hillier
– Klees may surprise, but only if his numbers are firm. He may also take a chunk of the established membership base.
– Hudak’s sales underwhelm, but barely. CP ran a story last night detailing weak fundraising totals (behind 10:1 vs. Elliott). But in the end, members voting will win this. If the party’s 6,500 non-attributed members break Hudak, he may still be strong. Yet, despite this we cannot and should not conclude that Hudak is the perceived front-runner even though he’s worn this title up until now.
– Elliott is within striking distance. If her numbers are indeed spread out as they are, she may be able to deliver under the party’s 100 point per riding system.
– Hudak and Elliott will do their best to appeal to Hillier support. Elliott’s flat tax proposal and Hudak’s HRC triangulation are obvious overtures to Hillier’s base. We will likely see more though I think it will be Elliott that sides against the bears. Hudak, however, has opportunity elsewhere in Hillier’s platform.
– Klees’ strategy will centre around raising money to deliver votes, and running on experience. If Klees projects as Premier, he may become this province’s next head of government. Those that have written Klees off early will be taking another look given these numbers.
Randy Hillier has been putting out some very “debate-able” policy during this campaign. I’d like to see more discussion and debate from the candidates on where they’d like to take the PC Party in the future. Unfortunately, the main motivation for the leadership candidates at this point is membership sales and perhaps some candidates see that a policy discussion would cause too much differentiation and rock the boat when it comes to signing up potential members.
Randy Hillier has already announced a number of policies. This unusual strategy is likely being executed so that Randy can gain more media attention as he is the underdog in this race. Ending the ban on the spring bear hunt, electing our senators from Ontario, abolishing the Human Rights Commissions and proposing a Freedom of Association and Conscience Act are just a few policies that Hillier has mixed into the race.
I’ve learned that Hillier will soon be announcing a policy to rename the party. That’s right. Instead of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, Hillier proposes that we rename it the Conservative Party of Ontario. This is sure to ruffle some feathers in the party as there is a strong red Tory element to the PC Party but personally, I’ve always thought the term “Progressive Conservative” was like apologizing with the first breath of your introduction. The name also implies that you want to be all things to all people rather than standing firm on your principles. “Conservative? Oh, don’t worry, we’re ‘progressive’ too!” Our strategy should be to win swing voters. “Progressive”, in the modern context, has increased in its partisan undertones as “liberals” in the United States have rebranded as “progressives”.
What do you think? Should we rename the party?
Christine Elliott is the latest to announce her entry into the Ontario PC leadership race following Frank Klees and Randy Hillier. Elliott announced on Twitter just after midnight earlier this morning and will be doing some press soon to give detail of her plans.
I met Elliott just last weekend as she stopped by Ottawa to measure support for a potential bid. I asked if she could differentiate herself from the other candidates and she replied, in obvious reference to Tim Hudak, that she’s not a career politician and that she brings “real-world” experience to the race. Asked for an example of a public policy initiative she would highlight should she lead the opposition in Queen’s Park she replied that the PC Party should emphasize its strength on its mental health strategy for Ontario. As for education which became the biggest snag for the party led by John Tory during the last election, Elliott conceded that vouchers and charter school would likely be off the table as something the party should champion over the coming years.
Randy Hillier also announced this week and exploded out of the gate with a very professional Hopey-Changey-styled website that emphasized three distinct policies that the former head of the Lanark Landowners Association would strive for in Ontario’s public policy debate. Abolishment of the Human Rights Commission, Senate elections for Ontario and a “Freedom of Association and Conscience Act” (allowing individuals to opt out of activities in their professions which they find morally objectionable) are the policy initiatives that Hillier will be selling at the doors over the next three (three?!) months. It is rumoured (though with some suspicion) that Hillier has already sold 2500 memberships.
Frank Klees, perhaps sensing that Hillier was set to announce on Monday, did his best to preempt the announcement by letting his intentions be known on Sunday. The former Harris cabinet minister and well-liked caucus member disappointed some as he launched without much fanfare or campaign.
Another former Harris cabinet minister is also set to announce though it is unknown as to when. The perceived (self-styled) front-runner of the race is Tim Hudak, who also has the backing of the former premier. I attended a breakfast meeting with Hudak a few weeks ago and it’s not much of a scoop to tell you that he is lining up for a serious bid. Asked then if he’d be announcing soon, he replied that for now he’s only encouraging a dialogue on the future direction of the party. Of course, he’ll be entering soon, but he’s holding off for strategic reasons. Like Fred Thompson in the 2008 GOP bid for nomination, an unannounced perceived front-runner can keep his name in the gossip of partisans and media alike by keeping the will-he-or-won’t-he chatter going, though like Thompson, withholding does not necessarily protect a candidate from flopping. Though his allies in the party executive have engineered a short race in his favour, Hudak will still have to contend among a field of strong candidates.
Conservative staffers in Ottawa are split between Elliott, who is also the wife of federal finance minister Jim Flaherty, and Hillier who carries the true-blue banner of provincial conservatism for many in this town. Many of the old pros and much of the provincial party establishment are lining up behind Hudak while the new pros are putting their chips on Elliott.