Saturday, February 6, 2010

Trouble brewing for Tories in Leeds-Grenville?

Steve Clark, the former mayor of Brockville has won the PC nomination for the Leeds-Grenville by-election, but not without controversy. Shawn Carmichael, the Vice-President of the Leeds and Grenville Landowners Association, who had been backed by the Randy Hillier wing of the party, had his nomination papers rejected by the party last night. Many have speculated that Carmichael, or one of his kind, could either run as an independent if the party didn't recognize his candidacy, or force Clark, who had been seen as the "establishment" candidate, into tacking to the right, which could hurt the Tories image elsewhere in the province, particularly as they suffered a crushing blow in Toronto Centre finishing a very distant third. The Ontario Landowners Association has already pledged to run "slate" candidates in municipal elections across rural Ontario, so a Landowner camapaign in Leeds-Grenville wouldn't be the most surprising thing in the world. Let's see how things develop.

1 comment:

Craig said...

Unfortunately for the PC establishment, Leeds-Grenville is heavily populated by Randy Hillier-type Tea Party conservatives, especially in the northern and eastern parts of the riding. Even though such views hurt badly in many areas, in this riding it is a necessity to run to the right.

If Carmichael ran as an independent, it would force Clark to the right to win, or he would likely win more votes with a strong campaign, perhaps giving the Liberals an unlikely victory if the vote is split, or a double-humiliation if he wins as an independent. That would certainly hurt Tim Hudak as well badly. It is unclear if Clark is a super-Red Tory like John Tory, who was a total disaster in the Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock by-election by conservatives staying home.

Note that the riding is directly adjacent to the NY-23 congressional district where the Republicans self-destructed as the Tea Party wing revolted.

The Liberals need to hope he runs as an independent and the vote gets badly divided on a strong campaign.