MPP Vic Fedeli announced Wednesday he is dropping out of the race to lead Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party.
Fedeli, who represents the riding of Nipissing, said he will be supporting Whitby-Oshawa MPP Christine Elliott.
“I believe Christine Elliott can go toe to toe with Kathleen Wynne and defeat her and the Liberals in 2018,” Fedeli said in a statement.
“I am committed to working with Christine to ensure that she is the next Premier of Ontario.”
Fedeli also thanked his staff, volunteers and supporters for the time and energy they devoted to the campaign.
“To those across Ontario who said they would support me in this race and to all those that generously donated to my campaign, let me say thank you.”
Fedeli cited a lack of campaign funds as a reason to quit the race.
“There are two numbers you have to look at in any leadership campaign – memberships and money. I’ve added up the numbers and simply put, I don’t see them being there for me to win this leadership race.”
The Tory finance critic was second to Elliott in fundraising, according to figures released by Elections Ontario on Friday, which was the day nominations closed.
Elliott, the widow of former finance minister Jim Flaherty, has raised the most money so far.
As of Friday, she filed $515,000 in donations, while Fedeli raised $156,650. Barrie MP Patrick Brown was in third place with $105,000.
Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod raised about $105,000, a spokesperson for her campaign said. Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton generated just under $20,000.
McNaughton was the last of the five to officially enter the race to replace Tim Hudak as leader of the Ontario PC Party, which is being led in the interim by Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson.
Hudak resigned as party leader after the Conservatives lost the provincial election to the Liberals in June of 2014.
The leadership convention will be held on May 9 at the Toronto Congress Centre.