MacKay, O'Toole neck and neck as Tory leadership race resumes - 2020-05-01
Conservative leadership candidates Peter MacKay and Erin O'Toole wasted little time Thursday leaping back into full campaign — and attack — mode after new fundraising numbers highlighted their potential neck-and-neck status as the contest got back underway. MacKay raised over a million dollars in the first quarter of 2020, but O'Toole had more donors. New data published Thursday shows O'Toole raised nearly $785,000 in the first three months of the year from about 4,200 people, to MacKay's $1.045 million from about 3,400 contributors.
MacKay announced on March 5 that he'd hit the million-dollar mark. An analysis of the data published by Elections Canada suggests that as of that date, roughly $838,000 in donations had been received by the party. He had the wind taken out of his sails that day, however, by an announcement that conservative heavyweight Jason Kenney was endorsing O'Toole. The endorsement from the Alberta premier and former federal minister seemed to give a financial bump to the O'Toole campaign. The Conservative party stopped accepting campaign donations at the end of March when it froze the leadership contest due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But between March 5 and then, O'Toole raised $345,000 while MacKay pulled in around $238,000, an analysis of the data suggests.
O'Toole trumpeted the total in an email to supporters later Thursday, though he said his campaign had raised $361,000 in that time. (The numbers might not match due to reporting delays.) He also suggested MacKay's campaign only raised $45,000 in that period. "Peter MacKay is the liberal media's preferred candidate. That's why they keep trying to coronate him. And it is why they keep trying to cover up the truth," the email said. "Peter MacKay is losing." Gloves off for MacKay, O'Toole campaigns as Tory leadership race resumes Late Thursday night, MacKay swiped back. Less than hour after he told supporters on a campaign call he was going to continue to take the "high road", he accused O'Toole of being a liar, pointing to the full data in the Elections Canada report about how much he raised in March. He called O'Toole a good friend in the past and said he used to believe his motivations were positive. "Erin O'Toole has said a lot of untrue and disappointing things during this leadership race and made a lot of accusations that I think, frankly, are beneath him," MacKay wrote. Meanwhile, the other two candidates, Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis and Ontario MP Derek Sloan, were more closely matched. Lewis raised $447,646 from around 2,570 people and Sloan raised $410,263 from around 2,480.