OTTAWA–Peter MacKay appears to have the money to back up his frontrunner status in the Conservative leadership race.
Just one week after officially launching his leadership campaign, a source tells the Star MacKay has submitted the full $300,000 fee required to officially enter the race.
Prospective candidates were only required to submit an initial $25,000 buy-in by the end of February. The remaining $275,000 desposit was due by March 25.
Cory Hann, the Conservatives’ director of communications, said that the party was still reviewing MacKay’s financial contributions.
“(But) based on the amount submitted and what’s been reviewed so far they appear on pace to meet the financial requirements set out in our leadership rules,” Hann said in a statement Saturday morning.
The party had set the financial and endorsement requirements much higher than their last leadership race, which was widely seen as an attempt to limit the field to more serious candidates. The 2017 contest had 14 names on the ballot, and six of those candidates received less that two per cent support on the first ballot.
So far, the 2020 contest looks like more of a two-horse race. MacKay and Erin O’Toole, the Durham MP and former cabinet minister, are widely viewed as the two candidates with the best chance at replacing Andrew Scheer.
In addition to the financial requirements, candidates are required to submit 3,000 signatures from supporters in at least 30 different ridings across seven provinces and territories.
MacKay has submitted more than 3,000 names, according to a source working on his campaign, but the party still needs to check those endorsements against their membership list.
A spokesperson for O’Toole’s campaign did not immediately respond to questions about their fundraising efforts Saturday morning.
In addition to O’Toole and MacKay, Conservative MPs Marilyn Gladu and Derek Sloan have indicated they intend to run for the leadership. Richard Decarie, a former political staffer from Quebec, has also announced his intention to run.
High-profile candidates like former Quebec Premier Jean Charest, the Conservatives’ former interim leader Rona Ambrose, and Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre have taken themselves out of the running, while New Brunswick MP John Williamson is exploring a bid.
The party will select their next leader at a convention in Toronto on June 27.
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