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Following Tim Hudak’s spectacular election failure and now his plunge in the polls (if an election were held today Hudak would lose significant seats) others including Jim Flaherty are thinking they could do a better job.
Any leadership race to replace Hudak would have to be overseen by the Ontario Conservative Party president. This president oversees adherence to the leadership race rules and sets many of the conditions including how and when delegates are elected and when the leadership race is to take place.
Any candidate to replace Hudak will want to make sure it is one of their supporters on the inside making the rules. And surprise, surprise the race just got nasty. There are now three very aggressive candidates in the ring.
Lets take a quick look.
The first is Kevin Gaudet, formerly involved with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and a Tim Hudak candidate in the last election. Kevin is probably most famous for his “back of the bus” statement made with regard to Tim Hudak’s attack on foreign workers. There is little doubt Gaudet is the Hudak candidate – this guy sticks to a sinking ship message track like, well, like Tim Hudak.
The second is Richard Ciano a good friend and business partner of, Rob Ford’s right hand man, Nick Kouvalis. It’s not a secret that leading up to and over the election Ford Nation rejected Tim Hudak. Rob Ford’s coveted lists of conservative Toronto voters were not shared with Hudak and Ford, usually a loud voice, stayed out of the election altogether and did not endorse Hudak even though Ford did endorse Harper in the federal election. The best intelligence on the ground is that Ciano is laying the ground work for a run by Doug Ford (Rob’s brother) for the Ontario Conservative leadership. After all, Tim Hudak tried to get Doug Ford to run the last provincial election but Ford refused, not wanting to attach himself to a sinking ship – and leaving himself open to take Hudak’s job.
The third is John Snobelen a former cabinet minister under Mike Harris. John is a close friend of John Tory and of Jim Flaherty. We all know the scars that were left on John Tory’s back after Hudak pushed him out of Ontario Conservative leadership. Scars Snobelen is not soon to forget. His friendship with Flaherty goes way back and is likely to be influencing his decision to run.
No matter who wins this race, one thing is for sure. Tim Hudak is in for a rough ride.