Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca resigns after showing poor at the ballot box

He vowed on the last day of camping to stick around

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Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca is resigning after failing to increase the fortunes of his third-place party and losing in his riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge.

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“Earlier this evening, I informed our party president of my decision to step down from the leadership of our party,” Del Duca told a crowd of supporters.

He has asked the Liberal Party’s executive to meet and organize a leadership contest as soon as possible.

Del Duca came in second to winning Progressive Conservative candidate Michael Tibollo, who held a wide lead.

“This isn’t the outcome that we had hoped for and worked hard for — and yes, it’s true, I am disappointed to not have been successful in my home riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge,” said Del Duca.

The former cabinet in Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government also lost the riding in 2018 by a margin of about 8,000 votes.

Early calls made by several media outlets gave the election to the Tories, with many declaring a majority for Doug Ford within 20 minutes of the polls closing at 9 pm

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The mood at Del Duca’s election night headquarters was subdued as party faithful briefly watched broadcasts of the results prior to the declaration of Ford’s victory.

During the campaign, polls showed Del Duca was locked in a battle for second place with Andrea Horwath’s NDP.

After 29 days of crisscrossing the province — emerging from the latest wave of COVID-19 — the Liberals appeared to have trouble connecting in a deeper way with a broader segment of voters.

Among promises on the hustings: Del Duca vowed to bring in cheaper public transit, invest in education and health care, bring back Grade 13, and cancel controversial Hwy. 413.

Polls showed Liberal support stalled between 24% and 31%. At 11 pm Thursday, the Liberals had just eight seats — one more than they won in 2018.

The result left Del Duca with few options, according to one political scientist.

“This is a defeat by just about every measure,” said Chris Cochrane, associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto. “Four year later and two years into Del Duca’s leadership, the Liberals are still at square one with voters.”

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