DOUG FORD: Populist Prime
Pros: Well, even mentioning that Doug has pros would be too much for some people, so I’ll say this: While the rest of the party is obsessively chasing after the middle, Doug’s “base” consists of people who are completely outside the voting spectrum. If anyone can reach these outsiders — the so-called “Ford Nation” — it’s Doug. Beyond that: This ain’t no Mini-Trump Leitch campaign, Folks — even if it does have some of the same staff. This is the real deal. Things that would destroy any of the other campaigns won’t touch Doug.
Cons: Looking past the obvious issues, Dougie has a serious numbers issue. To win he has to absolutely crush on the first ballot. You’ll be hearing nasty off-the-record mutterings about how he’s “nobody’s second choice” in the coming weeks.
CAROLINE MULRONEY: Apparent Heir
Pros: The freshest face in the bunch. Poised to lock down the youth vote, and if you took those “He’s Just Not Ready” Justin Trudeau Job Interview ads literally (and a lot of conservatives did) then look no further. Most of Brown’s old staff (the ones who didn’t leave under a cloud) have settled on this campaign, which is great if you thought Brown was doing fine before he personally blew up. And hey- people are actually saying- out loud- that she’s “#MeToo proof!”
Cons: For Doug Ford, being associated with a controversial name and being part of a dynasty isn’t a negative. It is for Caroline. Then there’s the other controversial name associated with her — Hamish Marshall, who will be running her campaign.
CHRISTINE ELLIOTT: The Peaceful, Consensus, PC Candidate
Pros: Honestly, if you think the path to victory is putting forth a candidate who is simply beyond reproach, Christine is your number one choice. She’s run before, has nothing to prove, and polls have her as a heavy favourite amongst PC faithful. She’ll also put a dent in Ford’s support because of the Ford family’s loyalty to the Elliot-Flaherty family.
Cons: She’s going with the same team she went with last time, headed up by the ever-present, ever-loyal John Capobianco. Unfortunately, this time around she won’t have as much access to caucus endorsements because of Phillips (see below), as much access to the women’s vote because of Mulroney, and while butter may melt in her mouth, Christine is not known for being especially warm.
ROD PHILLIPS: He’s Rod Phillips
PROS: He’s the caucus favourite, because when Vic Fedeli lost his bid to be permanent leader, the powers that be behind that attempt swung their support over to Rod. If you think this leadership race is a bad idea, or if you are tired of outsiders stomping into the party and taking it over, In Rod You Trust. He may be able to swing Paul Godfrey’s endorsement, which put Patrick Brown over the top last time.
CONS: Has he actually declared yet?