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2nd Conservative candidate quits bitter nomination race for Toronto-area riding

OAKVILLE, Ont. - The lone remaining candidate in a bitter battle for the Conservative nomination in the new Toronto-area federal riding of Oakville North-Burlington has dropped out.

Natalia Lishchyna says she's backing out, just days after her rival, Mississauga-Brampton South MP Eve Adams, called it quits.

In a letter to Conservative members in the riding, Lishchyna says she believes it's in the party's best interest to restart the nomination process from scratch.

The nomination contest had been put on hold pending an internal investigation into alleged improprieties by both women.

Adams had accused Lishchyna of improperly using data research firms to phone members at home.

The MP's team, meanwhile, was accused of paying for the memberships of supporters, alleged donations that are illegal under the Elections Act.

Adams fiance, Dimitri Soudas, had to resign as executive director of the Conservative party when it was perceived he was using his position to help Adams.

The party has previously said that it is committed to fair and open nominations in all 338 electoral districts across the country.

In her letter, Lishchyna says the nomination race turned into a "bitter contest of wills."

"I believe strongly that it is not in the best interest of the Party's electoral prospects in our great new riding to proceed under the circumstances we find ourselves today," she says.

"After almost a year of one of the most high profile and controversial nomination campaigns in Canadian history, I believe it's best that the Party restart the nomination process to allow the grassroots to decide."

She does, however, say she still plans to run again in the future, though she doesn't specify in which riding.

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