OTTAWA – MP Marc Garneau, despite running a “solid second” in the federal Liberal leadership race, has ended his campaign and thrown his support behind front-runner Justin Trudeau.
Garneau made the decision after internal polling made it clear to him that despite his second-place status, winning would be impossible given Trudeau’s lead.
“I entered this race with the intention of winning,” Garneau told a news conference Wednesday in Ottawa. “I have done my numbers. I cannot mathematically — and I’m a person who believes in math — I cannot mathematically win.
“I have made the decision that I will desist at this point.”
He says he’ll stick with the party and its new leader
“I will be a loyal Liberal and I will work for the party and for the new leader in whatever capacity they choose.”
Garneau’s departure leaves seven candidates in the running.
Garneau, an MP since 2008, kicked off his campaign last November, stressing the economy as his key issue.
Lately, though, he aimed pointed criticism at Trudeau, saying he was short on policy. He also complained that the party has looked to untested high flyers in the past, only to see them crash and burn.
Garneau said he sees no contradiction between those criticisms and his endorsement of Trudeau.
“I felt that within a race, even within a political party, one can go through a very vigorous race and be criticized,” he said.
Trudeau, Garneau added, “has risen to the occasion.”
Voting for the Liberal leadership will be conducted online and by phone early next month, with the winner to be announced on April 14.