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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Potential contenders to replace Tim Hudak as leader of Ontario's Conservatives

THE CANADIAN PRESS/files

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THE CANADIAN PRESS/files

TORONTO - Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak announced his resignation after the Liberals won a majority in Thursday's provincial election. A successor will be chosen at a leadership convention but speculation is already under way about who will run.

Here are five possible contenders:

— Christine Elliot

The party's deputy leader who placed third in her first attempt at a leadership bid in 2009 — the year Hudak won — is considered a top contender to replace Hudak. Elliott, 59, the widow of former federal finance minister Jim Flaherty, is widely liked and respected within the PC party and by her political opponents.

— Vic Fedeli

Fedeli, the popular former mayor of North Bay, Ont., and PC finance critic, led the Opposition's charge on the Liberals' gas plants scandal during committee hearings. Fedeli, 57, was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2011, taking back Mike Harris's old seat after it was in Liberal hands for eight years.

— Lisa MacLeod

Queen's Park watchers expect MacLeod would take a run at the PC leadership, if only to raise her profile for the next time the job comes open. MacLeod, 39, is one of the more outspoken Conservatives in the legislature, and along with Hudak is being sued by Premier Kathleen Wynne for suggesting the Liberal leader "oversaw and possibly ordered the criminal destruction of gas plant documents."

— Tony Clement

There has been speculation that the federal treasury board president, a former Conservative MPP who made the move to Parliament Hill, could return to try for the leader's job. Clement, 53, was a former Ontario health minister before jumping to federal politics, and lost his first try for the provincial PC leadership to Eves in 2002. Clement also ran for leader of the federal Conservative party in 2003 after it merged with the Canadian Alliance, but lost to Stephen Harper. He publicly supported Hudak and the Ontario PCs during the election campaign.

— Lisa Raitt

The federal transport minister is another federal Conservative said to be considering taking a run at the Ontario leadership. Raitt, 46, was the former president and CEO of the Toronto Port Authority.

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