Doug Ford wins leadership of Ontario Progressive Conservatives in controversial stunner

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Doug Ford supporters rally during the delay in the Ontario PC Leadership announcement.

Doug Ford is the new leader of the Ontario PC Party.

More than a thousand party members gathered at the Markham Hilton Hotel and Convention Centre to hear the results Saturday.

He beat Elliott by a margin of 153 electoral votes, and won 6,202 electoral votes compared to Elliott's 6,049 on the third ballot.

Meanwhile, Mulroney - the only leadership hopeful already declared a candidate in a riding - has presented herself as a fresh face, and Granic Allen has emphasized her ties to the party's grassroots.

Doug Ford's victory was announced after 10 p.m., without any of the pomp and fanfare that was expected earlier in the day when hundreds packed a hall expecting to celebrate the start of a new and more positive chapter in party history.

Sault MPP Ross Romano, who had thrown his support behind Christine Elliott, was not immediately available for comment. A constituency with, say, 75 members would only award 75 points.

The new leader will have to unify the party and spearhead a campaign to oust Ontario's 14-year-old Liberal government, lead by Premier Kathleen Wynne.

"I'm anxious about Kathleen Wynne, not Christine Elliott", he told CP24 while marching in the parade and waving to the crowd. "What we really need to do is make sure that the votes that were cast end up in the proper riding and that we have a true leader of the Ontario PC Party going forward".

"I ask you to draw an inference that there is some sort of mischief afoot", she said. "We're uniting the team and we are going to defeat Kathleen Wynne".

PC lawyer Gina Brannan said the mail-out issue has been known for days and she was suspicious that the court application was "brought at the very last moment when it could have been brought much earlier, and should have ..."

Brown's departure - including his brief entry into the race to fill his spot - little went smoothly for the Conservatives on Saturday.

While the deadline for casting a ballot has officially passed, a judge has agreed to hear a request to extend the voting period for the race.

And while Wynne is now unpopular, it remains to be seen whether the controversial and deeply polarizing Ford-who actually launched his leadership bid from his mother's basement-can defeat his incumbent opponent. Brown has denied the allegations. Justice Todd Archibald rejected the request late Friday. It's causing disenfranchised party members to say they'll think twice before voting for Elliott if her name is on the ballot in June's provincial election.

However, for ridings with fewer than 100 members, each votes counts as one point.

All four candidates have also raised the alarm over possible membership fraud and delays in member registration.

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