Liberals appear poised to give Ontario its first-ever woman premier

Kathleen Wynne, left, and Sandra Pupatello are the clear front-runners to become the next premier of Ontario.Who is going to replace Dalton McGuinty as Ontario Liberal leader and premier?

The results of the weekend delegate selection meetings suggest that it's going to be a woman.

The Canadian Press reports that former cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello and Toronto Don Valley-West MPP Kathleen Wynne are emerging as the clear front runners in the leadership contest.

Pupatello acquired 504 delegates committed to voting for her at the convention scheduled for the weekend of Jan. 25, while Wynne captured 463.

[ Related: Pupatello hopeful wants to avoid quick election ]

Gerard Kennedy, Harinder Takhar and Charles Sousa earned 257 and 244 and 198 delegates respectively.



Delegates %
Sandra Pupatello 504 27.4%
Kathleen Wynne 463 25.2%
Gerard Kennedy 257 14.0%
Harinder Takhar 244 13.3%
Charles Sousa 198 10.8%
Eric Hoskins 104 5.7%

The results have to be a little disappointing for Kennedy who was also considered a front runner in the race leading up to the weekend meetings.

But, like a veteran politician, he's putting a positive spin on the numbers.

"Following this weekend's delegate selection meetings, no clear choice for leader has emerged," the former MP and MPP told Yahoo! Canada News in an email exchange.

"Over the coming weeks, I will continue to speak with Liberals about the renewal of the party. We have some important work to do over next two weeks to build second ballot support."

[ Related: Wynne propelled by power to connect with people ]

While there's always a possibility of a candidate like Kennedy 'coming up the middle', in this case that might prove difficult especially considering that Pupatello and Wynne have the majority of caucus support — caucus, along with 400+ ex-officios, will also be allowed to vote at convention.

In his blog, polling analyst Éric Grenier says that the safe money is on the two women.

"Realistically...the race is between Pupatello and Wynne. In the 1996 OLP leadership race, Dalton McGuinty did win after placing fourth on the first ballot and Stéphane Dion won the 2006 federal Liberal race after placing third out of the gate. But in both cases, they started out with 18% support and were 11 or 12 points behind the leader.

Kennedy, Takhar, and Sousa are all well below that 18% and Kennedy trails Pupatello by 14 points among the elected delegates. It is a bit of a stretch to imagine a scenario where anyone but Wynne or Pupatello wins, though it is not impossible"

Premier Wynne or Premier Pupatello?

We'll find out in a couple of weeks.

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