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Pierre Poilievre is expected to formally announce his leadership bid later this month, according to the Toronto Star.
Before it has even begun, Poilievre’s campaign has been bolstered by the support of John Baird, a former minister jovially nicknamed Harper’s pit bull, who will chair the campaign. CPC veteran, Jenni Byrne, who is known for being Harper’s 2015 campaign manager, will also have a senior role in the campaign.
Both Baird and Byrne are respected, stalwart figures within the Conservative Party. Since Baird’s retirement from federal politics, he has been asked to review the 2019 CPC campaign. He also helped run the interim Ontario government between the Wynne and Ford administration.
Likewise, Byrne is a deeply experienced federal organizer having navigated the 2011 election win for Harper. More recently, she served as an advisor to Doug Ford—placed firmly within the Premier’s inner circle.
Despite not receiving much media coverage, Poilievre is a serious contender for leadership and will pose a significant challenge for the Liberals hoping to glide into a third term. Born a Franco-Albertan, Poilievre is perfectly bilingual—representing the Ontario riding of Carleton.
So far, only Bryan Brulotte (a faceless no-namer) has declared his leadership, although, like Poilievre, Dragons’ Den star Vincenzo Guzzo is also expected to imminently declare his bid. There are also reports there have been rumors that Peter MacKay, Erin O’Toole, and Rona Ambrose, are preparing to run.
Party sources have told the CBC that the candidates will have to pay $300,000 and will have to gather 3,000 signatures—effectively limiting the competition to affluent Conservative supporters or party officials with an already established support base. Last Friday the party announced would-be candidates have ten more days to register to run in the CPC leadership race.