Late and messy, PC party handpicks candidate for Prince Edward-Hastings
Leona Dombrowsky remains the candidate to beat. Despite general unease—ranging to full-blown anger—with her government and its policies, Dombrowsky remains personally popular and an astute campaigner.
With just 133 days until a provincial election, the Progressive Conservatives have finally named their candidate for Prince Edward-Hastings. He is Todd Smith, the news voice at CJBQ in Belleville.
In a process that has raised many eyebrows in the riding, Smith was handpicked last week by party officials in Toronto. Others considering running under the PC banner have been told thanks but no thanks.
Particularly stung by the PC party’s decision is Eric DenOuden. The founder and owner of Hilden Homes in Belleville ran for the PC Party in 2007, losing to Leona Dombrowsky while marginally improving the popular vote for the party. DenOuden remained active in the community and was prepareing for a second run. He began gearing up his campaign last fall anticipating a nomination meeting before the end of the year.
Throughout the winter months DenOuden was busy pressing the flesh, organizing workers, preparing materials—but still nothing from the party. Then the party announced it would hold a belated campaign meeting in March. But it was February the party had not yet signed back DenOuden’s nomination papers, which had been submitted many weeks earlier.
Then, three weeks before the nomination meeting was to take place, party officials abruptly cancelled the meeting, citing scheduling problems. By now DenOuden realized the party was having second thoughts about his candidacy—but he was confident he would compete well in a nomination race.
Rumours were already swirling suggesting the party was looking for a “star” candidate. Two weeks ago party officials asked DenOuden to withdraw his candidacy for the nomination.
When it became clear DenOuden wouldn’t go quietly, the party denied his application with no explanation.
On Wednesday Smith announced he would seek the nomination for Prince Edward-Hastings.There will be no contested nomination.
The PC Party in Toronto believes it has improved its chances in Prince Edward-Hastings. It remains to be seen whether local Tories prefer having their candidates chosen for them—without their input. MORE