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Battle for donor dollars tightens among Conservative leadership contenders

Last Updated Aug 5, 2020 at 2:54 pm EDT

Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidates Erin O'Toole and Peter MacKay wait for the start of the French Leadership Debate in Toronto on Wednesday, June 17, 2020.As the race for Conservative leadership enters its final weeks, new data from Elections Canada offers a glimpse into fundraising efforts of each campaign — and how the battle for donor dollars has tightened in the lead up to the final vote tally. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

OTTAWA — New data from Elections Canada offers a glimpse into the fundraising efforts of each Conservative leadership campaign — and how the battle for donor dollars has tightened leading up to the final results.

Second-quarter contribution numbers for the Conservative party show Erin O’Toole moved ahead of rival Peter MacKay to become the fundraising leader between April and June, bringing in $1.24 million in leadership donations.

But MacKay wasn’t far behind, raising $1.16 million over the same period.

In the first quarter of this year, MacKay had the most in donations with $1.04 million, coming in ahead of O’Toole, who raised $785,000.

Leslyn Lewis, who is backed by many social conservative groups, more than doubled her fundraising totals compared to earlier in the year, raising $996,000 in donations last quarter, up from about $448,000.

Lewis also attracted more individual donors than the four other candidates this quarter at just over 10,000 contributors.

Derek Sloan, who is also courting the social conservative vote, raised $329,000, down slightly from the $410,000 he raised in the first quarter of 2020.

Mail-in voting for the leadership contest began in July and all votes must arrive at the party’s headquarters by Aug. 21, with the winner being announced shortly afterward.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 5, 2020.

The Canadian Press