Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie has won the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party.
In an election using the ranked choice voting system, Crombie narrowly beat out Beaches—East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith on the third and last ballot, 53.4% to 46.6%.
Crombie campaigned on being a consensus candidate, appealing to centrist Liberals who would like to see the party moderate.
In an interview with TVO, Crombie told Ontarians that the Ontario Liberals had moved too far to the left under the leadership of Kathleen Wynne and Steven Del Duca, claiming that she would like to govern the province from “right of centre.”
“I think the Liberal party moved much too far to the left,” said Crombie.
“I think traditionally our roots are in the centre. I believe we govern from right of centre.”
Crombie also appealed to voters based on her experience as the chief executive of a major municipality, and her brief stint in federal politics as an MP from 2008-2011.
Leadership candidates MPP Ted Hsu, MP Yasir Naqiv, and MP Erskine-Smith attempted to prevent Crombie from becoming leader by encouraging their supporters to rank Crombie last on their ballots, though their pursuit failed.
Crombie said that she will step down from her position as the mayor of Mississauga in the new year after the city’s budget is crafted, though it is unclear when exactly she will resign.
The Ontario Liberal leadership election saw unusually low voter turnout, as only 23% of party members voted in the race.
Crombie has a tall task ahead of her, as the Ontario Liberals have been reduced to 7 and 8 seats in the last two Ontario general elections, failing to gain official party status.
Immediately after Crombie’s ascent to the Liberal leadership the Progressive Conservatives attacked, Crombie, warning of higher taxes, more gridlock, and fewer home if elected premier.