Conservative Party Leadership candidates Tanya Granic Allen, Christine Elliott, Doug Ford and Caroline Mulroney, at TVO studios in Toronto, where the first leadership debate was held, on Thursday February 15, 2018.
"The issue was extensively investigated by the chief electoral officer and the election team", said leadership campaign chairman Hartley Lefton in a hastily organized news conference Saturday night. She also said thousands of party members were assigned to incorrect ridings during the voting process.
After a recount, the party declared Ford won on the second ballot as well as the third and final ballot.
Vincent Samuel, who helped organized the Ford campaign in Hamilton, said he was "disappointed" at how the entire leadership vote was handled.
"Of course. the party as a whole has a large public interest in keeping the process going, given how close we are to an election and wanting to have some finality over the results", he said.
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But he urged each camp to get behind the leader once the result is announced later on Saturday afternoon.
"Tonight is a sign there is a lot of work ahead of us", Ford said, alluding to the challenges of the day.
Others appeared undisturbed, saying the hurdles would be long forgotten once a leader was chosen.
At several points during the wild roller-coaster ride that this leadership race has been, my colleagues at Queen's Park and I have asked one another: "Could this possibly have any more twists and turns?"
Cristine de Clercy, an associate professor of political science at Western University, said the party's handling of the delays Saturday was "a dismal failure".
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Elliott's camp claimed that she won the popular vote as well as the majority of the ridings.
The turnout is a historic high for the Ontario PC Party, though, not without its share of complaints. That made it even more important that this executive running this election had to be flawless. Minutes later, CTV News airs a story in which two unnamed women make allegations of sexual misconduct against Brown dating back to his time as a federal member of parliament. She pointedly did not congratulate Ford, and continued to dispute the result. "On June 7th, we can vote to say no to it".
January 24: Patrick Brown, then the leader of the party, calls a last-minute press conference to deny a pending news report about sexual misconduct allegations.
"Thank you Christine! You are a great friend and I look forward to working together to put Ontario on the right track", Ford said in his tweet.
February 16: Brown joins the leadership race with less than an hour to go before a registration deadline.
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I've never seen so much hard work and passion from so dedicated a group of people . "I'm a huge fan of them". Other schoolchildren in the crowd were equally thrilled to meet the royal couple and shake their hands.
The leadership race itself stirred strife and forced party brass to defend their decisions on a number of fronts.