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Conservatives to choose next leader in August
April 30, 2020
Alex Boutilier

The Conservative leadership race is back on.

The party’s Leadership Election Organizing Committee (LEOC) announced Wednesday night that the race would resume “effective immediately,” setting Aug. 21 as the deadline for mail-in ballots. The winner will be announced as soon as those ballots can be safely counted “while respecting any health guidelines in place at that time.”

The four leadership hopefuls will have until May 15 to sign up new members eligible to vote in the contest.

The party suspended the race indefinitely on March 26, as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened. At the time, the LEOC said that the public health emergency made it impossible to safely continue processing donations and mail-in ballots.

“The LEOC took the time over the course of that suspension to re-evaluate the timeline needed to complete the race, and has concluded the leadership election can resume with adjustments to accommodate current circumstances, effective immediately,” the party wrote in a statement.

Four candidates are vying for the leadership -- former cabinet ministers Erin O’Toole and Peter MacKay, Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis, and rookie MP Derek Sloan. But most observers view it as a contest between MacKay and O’Toole, with social conservatives Lewis and Sloan jockeying for third place.