TORONTO — Controversial Toronto City Councillor Doug Ford says he will not join the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership race.
Ford told reporters gathered for the announcement at the family’s business — Deco Labels — that it was the most difficult and toughest decision he’s ever had to make.
He says the province is in a financial mess, but the Tories already have five strong candidates to replace Tim Hudak, who resigned after the Liberals won the June 12 election, but he’s supporting deputy leader Christine Elliott.
Ford apologized to all his supporters and those who had encouraged him to run, and said “life moves on.”
The 50-year-old Ford, the older brother of outgoing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, finished a strong second to John Tory in last month’s mayoral election.
Doug Ford had stepped in as a last minute mayoral candidate after his brother was diagnosed with cancer.
Some Conservatives had said Ford would be a real game changer in the so-far sleepy race to replace Hudak, who admitted Ford won more votes in Toronto that the Tories did in the June election, when the party failed to win a single seat in the city.
The other declared candidates are MPPs Vic Fedeli, Lisa MacLeod and Monte McNaughton and federal MP Patrick Brown.
Fords’ father, the late Doug Ford Sr., was a one-term Conservative member of the Ontario legislature in the late 1990s.
Conservative members will vote either May 3 or May 7 on the new leader, and the results will be announced May 9 at the party’s leadership convention in Toronto.