O'Leary says he will 'step in' to Tory race once field has been narrowed down
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Friday, December 16, 2016 12:19PM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 16, 2016 12:37PM EST
Businessman and television personality Kevin O’Leary says he will “step in” to the Conservative leadership race once the field of contenders has been narrowed down.
O’Leary made the comment to CP24 on Friday, four days after holding a highly-publicized meeting with members of the Conservative caucus in Ottawa.
“One of the reasons you would jump into the race at this point is no one knows who you are and you have got to raise a lot of money. I am pretty safe on the name recognition issues – I think people know who I am – and I don’t have a problem with money, so I would rather simply wait,” O’Leary said. “Tell me when we are down to five (candidates) and then I will step in. Why rush”
There are currently a total of 14 registered candidates in the Tory leadership race, including MP’s Kellie Leitch, Lisa Raitt, Chris Alexander and Michael Chong, among others.
There have already been two debates featuring leadership candidates; however the registration window remains open, giving O’Leary and others considering a run until February 24 to decide.
Speaking with CP24, O’Leary predicted that some candidates will inevitably withdraw from the race ahead of the deadline due to financial issues and suggested that he is waiting until then to declare his intentions.
“Why fight my 14 fellow Conservatives?” O’Leary asked.
O’Leary has long been rumoured as a potential leadership candidate.
One Ipsos poll conducted in September featured O’Leary alongside eight other potential contenders and found that the ‘Shark Tank’ host enjoyed the support of 25 per cent of respondents. The only other person to score higher on that poll was former cabinet minister Peter MacKay (26 per cent), who has since ruled out a run for the leadership.
O'Leary is an on-air contributor with Bell Media. CP24 is a subsidiary of Bell Media.