Local PC MPP ready to get behind Doug Ford

THE CANADIAN PRESS

"It's not my place to offer Christine advice but I would say it is certainly time for our party to move forward under one leader".

Elliott's statement followed a meeting with Ford that appeared to put to rest any notion that she would continue a challenge to his win after a chaotic leadership convention on Saturday.

Ford is a former Toronto Ward 2 city counsellor and older brother of the late mayor Rob Ford, who is most famous for admitting to have smoked crack while in office.

Elliott placed a close second, coming in 153 points behind Ford on the final ballot.

On the first ballot, Ms. Elliott won about 35 per cent of the votes, short of the hoped-for 39 per cent, a member of her campaign team said.

"Our scrutineers identified entire towns voting in the wrong riding".

"The pace of this Ontario PC leadership race has been rapid and there have been a number of unexpected turns along the way". Similar claims also led to the exit of the party's president.

On Sunday the party's executive committee passed a unanimous motion to accept the results of the leadership race.

Uniting the party and making it appeal to a range of voters may prove a daunting task for Ford given his brash, often confrontational approach, which he displayed in his brief career in municipal politics and again in his leadership campaign, said one expert.

Wynne noted that she and Ford are very different, saying that voters will have a "stark" choice to make in the weeks ahead.

The governing Liberals and the New Democrats have panned Ford as a step backwards for the Tories, accusing him of currying favour with the party's socially conservative elements. "I don't think it really changes anything until we see the party platforms and we get closer to the election", said Joey Mack, Toronto-based director of fixed income at GMP Securities LP.

For his part, Ford says he wants to straighten out the province's finances and is eager to take on Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne in the June election.

It's not yet clear where Elliott run.

Doug Ford has himself been the subject of drug allegations. Brown backed out of the race about 10 days later, saying it was too hard to work at clearing his name and running a leadership campaign at the same time.

"Obviously, I would have preferred Christine (Elliott)".

"The results are not what we had expected and it took longer to get there than what we anticipated", Romano, who was in Markham at the convention, said.

Mulroney, the only candidate to be nominated in a riding, also tweeted her support for Ford and said she would be back knocking on doors Sunday.

"No matter where I go ... it's the same message", said Fedeli, noting he's repeatedly asked when will the Tories be getting rid of Kathleen Wynne.

"I appreciate her (Elliott) thoughts". I look forward to working with him.

When it comes to hot-button social conservative issues like abortion and sexual education in schools, some Ontario Progressive Conservative party members and Conservative strategists are advising their newly-minted leader to tread carefully.

"We're moving forward on a united front", Ford said.

Political newcomer Caroline Mulroney raised more than $800,000, but finished a distant third. Wynne replaced Dalton McGuinty as premier after winning the 2013 Ontario Liberal leadership race.

"I need to focus on what it is that people are saying to me in terms of what they need", she said.

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