Marc Garneau dropped out of the federal Liberal leadership race on Wednesday and threw his support to front-runner Justin Trudeau, declaring the outcome “a fait accompli.”
The Montreal MP’s decision followed an internal poll conducted by his campaign last week, which showed Trudeau has the backing of 72 per cent of Liberal members and supporters, Garneau said.
He said he was a “solid second” with 15 per cent, followed by Vancouver MP Joyce Murray with just over seven per cent and former Toronto MP Martha Hall Findlay with just over five per cent.
“I have done my numbers. I cannot mathematically — and I’m a person who believes in math — I cannot mathematically win,” Garneau told a news conference.
His campaign ran an automated phone poll of 6,000 Liberal supporters and members to determine when they favoured Garneau, Trudeau, Findlay or Joyce Murray.
“I’m not into denial,” Garneau said. “The numbers indicate very clearly that Justin is the overwhelming favourite.”
However, Murray said she puts no stock in Garneau’s survey, the methodology of which her camp finds highly suspect. She said it won’t influence her decision to continue her campaign, which has enjoyed a late burst of momentum.
“I’m not going to give it any credit,” Murray said in an interview.
“I happen to completely disagree with his assessment that there’s only one possible outcome to this race. . . . It’s not a done deal.”
Murray Todd, president of the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Liberal Riding Association, is inclined to agree. He was surprised by the sudden departure, even if Garneau was miles behind the frontrunner.
“I’m not happy with this,” he said. “Regardless of whether I support the guy, I think he was good and should have stayed in.”
Garneau said he doesn’t want to approach donors, given his prospects, but what about all those who’ve financially supported his campaign to date, Murray wonders.
He thinks Murray, a Vancouver MP and the sole candidate from Western Canada, could gain some momentum at the race enters its final month.
“Just because Garneau goes doesn’t mean his bloc of votes will go with him. They might go to her.”
Murray’s camp is hopeful her supporters — urged on by a host of grassroots and online advocacy groups who back her environmental credentials and her plan for electoral co-operation among progressive parties — are more committed than average.
The Daily News/The Canadian Press