After all that’s happened to Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives in the past month, nothing is surprising. So it’s hardly a shock that Patrick Brown, having just entered the race to replace himself as leader only 10 days previously, withdrew yesterday.
Perhaps the only thing that’s startling is that in his four-page announcement, he claimed to be putting the party’s interests ahead of his own, something that didn’t appear to be so much of a priority a week and a half ago or at any other time in the last month. More likely Brown had started to realize he had little chance of winning and that the allegations and questions about his behaviour as leader would only continue to pile up in the days ahead.
As I’ve said before, June 7 is a long way away and the appetite for change in Ontario remains significant. With Brown on the sidelines, the party can now spend the next 11 days focused on the next leader instead of the previous one. As long as Brown doesn’t re-enter the race again tomorrow, the party will have just as much chance of winning the election as they did a month ago, maybe even more.