Kathleen Wynne makes up ground in first round of Ontario Liberal leadership vote

Matthew Coutts
National Affairs Reporter
Canada Politics

The Ontario Liberal Party leadership convention became hyper-competitive the moment first ballot votes were announced, with Kathleen Wynne pulling within two delegates of frontrunner Sandra Pupatello.

Wynne tightened the race into a virtual tie by scoring 597 of the 2,084 votes case in the first ballot. Pupatello sat with 599 votes.

The rest of the field broke down thusly:

  • Gerard Kennedy: 281 votes
  • Harinder Takhar: 235 votes
  • Charles Sousa: 222 votes
  • Eric Hoskins: 150 votes.

[ Related: Ontario Liberal leadership candidates make pitch to be premier ]

Hoskins will be removed from the next round of voting, meaning his 150 delegates come up for grabs. It would be a big boost to either Wynne or Pupatello to grab the majority of those free votes.

As an aside, it was Kennedy’s camp to first start chanting “We want Eric,” on the convention floor. Editorially, that chant should be changed to “We NEED Eric,” but I digress.

Hoskins did not immediately make an endorsement, but said during his opening speech that he was looking forward to supporting the next premier, whoever “she” may be.

There was no consensus on Twitter over which way Hoskins’ supporters may flock, but many in attendance tried to draw parallels between his goals and Wynne’s vision.

Wynne's camp quickly announced that they had vastly exceeded expectations on the first round of voting.

Meantime, members of Pupatello’s troupe looked rather dejected after the first round of voting, having already lost a margin of about 30 very key delegate votes.