Ex-leader Brown likely out as candidate
Whether he bows out on his own or is forced to do it, Patrick Brown will almost certainly not be running as an Ontario Progressive Conservative candidate under new leader Doug Ford, Tory sources said Monday.
Meanwhile, Ford’s team is reviewing several other ridings where nomination results are in dispute, and may overturn some of them, sources said.
If Brown does not run, it would mark the final chapter in his short, tumultuous career as a provincial PC legislator.
He resigned as leader in late January, then briefly competed in the race to fill his old job. He had already been nominated in Barrie— Springwater— Oro- Medonte riding, but interim leader Vic Fedeli stripped him of the candidacy last month.
Brown has said he will vie for the Tory nod there again — and currently has no challenger for it.
But Ford’s team is worried that the former leader would be a “distraction” in the June 7 election, drawing unwanted media attention and opposition attacks. “It would keep going because it’s newsworthy and there are political points in it,” said a source in Ford’s camp.
For now, the new leader is giving him a chance to step away voluntarily, the source said.
“I can’t imagine in what universe Patrick would think it’s in his interest to run again,” said the adviser. “Most people are saying that Patrick has been kicked enough times that he probably doesn’ t want to be kicked any more.”
But if push comes to shove, said another Tory source, Ford will bar Brown from running.
A third Conservative close to the nominations process said the assumption was that none of the four leadership candidates would have let him campaign as one of their candidates.
Brown himself is vacationing in Florida and could not be reached for comment.
He resigned Jan. 25 over sexual- misconduct allegations he has called false and malicious, and is suing CTV News over the story that first aired the charges.
But complaints later arose about other controversies, mostly around a dozen or so Conservative nomination elections under his administration that ended with allegations of ballot stuffing, voter fraud or other irregularities.
The party has already overturned two of them — in Toronto and Ottawa — but Ford’s team is currently reviewing other nominations.
“Stay tuned, because we’re going to have something to say soonish” on that issue, said the source in the new leader’s group.