If he runs, could Doug Ford actually win the Ontario PC leadership race?

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics
Doug Ford waves to supporters after failing to be elected as mayor in the municipal election in Toronto, October 27, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)

Doug Ford might not be done with politics, just yet. 

The runner-up to John Tory in the Toronto mayoral race  and brother of former mayor Rob Ford  is now musing about running for the leadership the Ontario Progressive Conservative party. 

"I think we would have a big base of support," Ford told the Toronto Star on Tuesday. 

"We have to start focusing more on the hard-working blue-collar people. Out of the votes I had (for mayor) I would say probably three-quarters of them would never vote PC in their lives.

"My personal opinion, I don’t think any of the candidates could beat Kathleen Wynne … they don’t attract a certain base in Toronto and the 905 that we would attract."

Nobody knows for sure if this is for real or if it’s another one of the Ford brother’s reveries. 

Doug does have some several other options on the table. He could go back to running his very successful family business or take on some role — volunteer or otherwise — with the city.  Mayor-elect Tory has suggested that he’d be open to offering Ford some sort of role. 

But according to political consultant Marcel Wieder, Ford running for the leadership makes a lot of sense. 

"He has firmly set his sights provincially," Wieder said, noting that Doug has previously talked about running to be an MPP in his late father’s old riding of Etobicoke.

"I think what he’s doing now is canvassing…just to get a sense to see what the possibilities are," 

Wieder, the president of Aurora Strategy Group, suggests that the PC leadership race rules could also be an advantage to Ford. 

Votes in each of the 107 PC riding associations will be converted to a percentage of Electoral Votes. So, if one candidate gets 160 out of 200 votes in one riding, he would receive 80 points out of 100. The first candidate to reach 5,350 points (half of 10,700) wins. 

With approximately 40 out of the 107 ridings being situated in the Greater Toronto area  and given the Ford’s popularity in the GTA  Wieder notes that Doug would have a marked advantage over some of the other candidates. 

"A lot of the [existing members] will like the Ford’s no-nonsense fiscally conservative approach on issues," said Wieder.

"He appears to be a better communicator of conservative values [than former leader Tim Hudak]."

[ Related: Time to talk about Toronto becoming its own province, says Ontario MPP

If Doug decides to run, his opponents will be MP Patrick Brown and MPPs Lisa MacLeod, Vic Fedeli, Monte McNaughton and Christine Elliott, the widow of former finance minister Jim Flaherty. 

So far, polls indicate that Elliott is the frontrunner. 

Political analyst Maddie Di Muccio says that the challenge for all the candidates will be to demonstrate they can actually win a general election.

"The PC’s have lost five elections in a row and the membership is unsettled.  Christine, Monte, Vic and Lisa all have ties to Tim Hudak that they have to overcome to convince people that they can succeed where Hudak failed,” Di Muccio, a former Newmarket city councillor, told Yahoo Canada News via email. 

"If Doug chooses to put his name in, he would offer a very different alternative to the race.

"Personality is a factor in elections and can work in favour  or against  of appealing to voters.”

PC leadership candidates can start filing their papers next month. The deadline for entering the race is January 30th.  

The new leader will be elected on May 9th. 

Are you a politics junkie?
Follow @politicalpoints on Twitter!