OTTAWA — Former MP Leona Alleslev has abandoned her campaign for leadership of the federal Conservative party after being unable to raise enough money by Friday’s deadline, sources told the Star.

Alleslev, who was elected as a Liberal in the riding of Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill before crossing the floor to join the Conservatives, entered the leadership race relatively late but had surpassed the first bar to entry earlier this month, paying a $50,000 fee and sufficiently answering the party’s questionnaire.

Nine candidates met that first threshold. To get their names on the ballot, each had to pay an additional $250,000 and submit 500 signatures from 30 ridings in seven provinces and territories by Friday afternoon.

Five candidates have already done that: Scott Aitchison, Patrick Brown, Jean Charest, Leslyn Lewis and Pierre Poilievre.

At least one other hopeful leadership, Joseph Bourgault, is believed to have amassed the necessary money and signatures, according to an email circulated by the anti-abortion group Campaign Life Coalition, but his status has yet to be confirmed by the party.

CLC has also been encouraging its supporters to donate to two other leadership candidates, BC consultant Grant Abraham and BC MP Marc Dalton.

On Friday afternoon, Dalton was still actively seeking financial support.

“I can make it, but you need your financial support if you want me on the ballot,” he wrote on social media.

Candidates had until 5 pm EDT on Friday to submit the required funds and signatures. The party must verify all the signatures and confirm receipt of the funds before each candidate’s status is verified.

The next official events on the Conservative leadership party calendar will be a pair of party-sanctioned debates in May, which candidates are obliged to attend.

Candidates then have until June 3 to sell party memberships. Ballots will be sent out to party members later in the summer, and the new leader is expected to be announced on Sept. 10.

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