Conservative defector Adams loses the Liberal bid for Eglinton–Lawrence,
Lawyer Marco Mendicino beats former Conservative Eve Adams for the Liberal candidacy in Toronto riding
“Joe (Oliver), enjoy your sleep tonight because tomorrow we’re coming after you.” MARCO MENDICINO LIBERAL MP CANDIDATE FOR EGLINTON-LAWRENCE
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s bid to use a big name to knock off a Conservative cabinet minister in a key Toronto riding next October unravelled Sunday night when that big name — Tory defector Eve Adams — failed to win the Liberal nomination in Eglinton-Lawrence.
Adams, the Mississauga MP who crossed over from the Conservatives in February and days later was parachuted into Eglinton-Lawrence as a Liberal candidate — with Trudeau’s blessing — lost to Toronto lawyer Marco Mendicino in a raucous nomination vote Sunday.
The riding is currently held by federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver, whom the Liberals dearly want to defeat in the Oct. 19 election after losing the riding in 2011.
Mendicino, a former federal prosecutor who has never held political office, will be Oliver’s Liberal opponent.
“Joe (Oliver), enjoy your sleep tonight because tomorrow we’re coming after you,” Mendicino told a cheering crowd in the auditorium at John Polanyi Collegiate Institute as the results were announced.
Adams later came on stage to congratulate Mendicino. She told reporters she plans to take some time off and spend it with her family before figuring out her next steps.
“I’m going to take a couple days to go and be a mom and think about things,” she said, declining to answer whether she’ll try to seek another riding in which to run. She promised to throw her support behind Mendicino.
Liberal party organizers said 1,985 votes were cast in the nomination race. They did not release an official tally, but the final vote is believed to be 1,130 for Mendicino and 790 for Adams. Mike Colle, the Liberal MPP in the overlapping provincial riding, harshly criticized the decision by the federal party to parachute Adams in.
“I just think (Trudeau) has to listen to the grassroots more. Talk to the Liberals on the ground, not just in the back room,” he told the Star.
“Talk to the ordinary Joe and Jane Liberal first before you make a big decision,” said Colle, who endorsed Mendicino.
As the results of the vote became known, Melissa Lantsman, a spokeswoman for Oliver, tweeted that the Liberals have “chosen the guy who is going to lose to Joe Oliver.”
Liberal Party spokesman Olivier Duchesneau said Mendicino is being welcomed to the team.
“He is a great candidate and we are looking forward to working with him to bring real change to Eglinton-Lawrence,” he said in a statement last night.
Mendicino, in his speech to the party faithful earlier in the day, congratulated Adams for having the “courage” to cross the floor to Liberals in February, but took a swipe at her, noting he and his family are longtime residents in the riding.
“Our life is in this riding,” he said as raucous cheers of “Marco, Marco” broke out in the audience.
While admitting he’s not a career politician, Mendicino promised to be a voice in Ottawa. He slammed the Harper government for eight straight years of deficits and an economy that’s currently “on the verge of recession.”
Adams, who spoke second, promised to move her family into the riding. She pointed to her experience and winning record as a politician, saying she has run four times and won all four contests.
She said Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Oliver are in “serious trouble” in the riding, evidenced the “nasty” material they’re sending into the riding and the polling and focus groups they’ve carrying out to get a handle on their support.
The nomination race featured allegations back and forth between the two camps about the integrity of new Liberal party membership sign-ups. The Adams camp signed up more than 2,000 new members and the Mendicino camp about 1,800.
Adams crossed to the Liberals after she was barred from running for the Conservatives in the next federal election following allegations of misconduct in connection with a Conservative nomination race in the newly created riding of Oakville North—Burlington.
Adams and fiancé Dimitri Soudas, Harper’s former communications director and a former executive director for the Conservative Party, fell out of favour with the party over the allegations.
She denied involvement in any misconduct in that race.