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Tight rules for Conservative leadership prompt Bryan Brulotte to drop out

Written by on January 14, 2020

OTTAWA — Tight new rules for the Conservative leadership election have led businessman and longtime party volunteer Bryan Brulotte to declare he’s no longer making a bid for the job.

He says he’s instead backing potential contender Peter MacKay, whom he has known since the 1990s.

Brulotte had signalled his intention to run for leadership in December and began rolling out a campaign earlier this month.

Part of his strategy had been to use his relative outsider status to recruit new members who’d back his bid, and in turn become a new base of support for the party.

But the official rules of the race, released over the weekend, require candidates to have the support of 3,000 people who’ve been party members for 21 days before they sign someone’s leadership nomination papers.

One thousand of those signatures are required by the end of February, giving candidates effectively less than a month to sign-up new people.

Brulotte says withdrawing isn’t a decision he made lightly, and he still believes in the ideas he was presenting as part of his campaign.

Brulotte has backed MacKay for a leadership bid once before — the 2003 campaign for the head of the Progressive Conservative party.

MacKay has yet to formally announce he’s running, though he has been making the rounds of party and community events for weeks.

Party members will elect a new leader on June 27.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Jan. 14, 2020.

The Canadian Press