Conservative defector Eve Adams failed on Sunday in her bid to run as a Liberal candidate in the looming federal election.
The sitting member of Parliament, welcomed personally into the fold by Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, was handily beaten for the party’s nomination in the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence by lawyer Marco Mendicino.
Party officials say the vote tally was 792 for Adams and 1,127 for her victorious rival.
The result means Mendicino, 42, a married father of two, will now face off against Tory Finance Minister Joe Oliver in the election that must be held no later than Oct. 19.
“There’s no booing for Eve,” he said in a victory speech.
Adams, 40, left the Conservatives under a cloud related to another nomination fight, and Trudeau’s warm embrace of her angered some party members.
Some of that disaffection was on display as Adams, who does not live in the constituency, made a final, unsuccessful appeal to riding Liberals to let her carry their standard against Oliver.
She had barely begun her pitch to about 150 members in a steamy high school auditorium when a man stood up in the audience.
“I urge you today for the sake of the party, if you love the Liberal party, please withdraw,” he said.
Adams ignored the heckle.
Instead, the MP for Mississauga-Brampton South west of Toronto began her 10-minute speech with a passing nod to Mendicino, before stressing her own political credentials.
“I’m a fighter. That’s pretty clear. I will fight harder for you than Joe Oliver ever will,” Adams told the crowd. “I’m a fighter, I’m progressive, I’m also a young mom, a full-time mom.”
Adams pledged to move into the riding if chosen, and talked up her work ethic. She said nothing about her former party affiliation.
She also paid tribute to the Liberal leader, who both sides said stayed out of the bitter nomination fray.
“Justin Trudeau has a vision,” she said. “He is the most inspired leader I have ever worked for.”
Her speech received mostly polite applause, in contrast to the standing ovation and chants of “Marco!” that greeted the end of her rival’s speech.
Nominated by long-time provincial Liberal Mike Colle, who once said Adams would represent the riding over his dead body, Mendicino began by reminding the audience of Adams’ past.
“The decision to cross the floor was a courageous one and I salute you,” Mendicino said.
“I am not a career politician but I have learned that at its heart, politics is about the people. Our life is in this riding.”
Mendicino, a former prosecutor for almost 10 years, criticized Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservatives for failing to deliver for “hard-working” Canadians.
Adams left the Harper Conservatives amid allegations of dirty tricks related to a Tory nomination battle last year. Her fiance Dimitri Soudas, who was for years a spokesman for Harper and became the Conservatives’ executive director, was also excommunicated from the party establishment.
Despite the controversy over her defection, Adams’ attempt to run in Eglinton-Lawrence attracted some heavy-weight support, including from the man who helped engineer Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s surprise win last year.
Pundits are divided on how much damage Adams has done to Trudeau. Some said his welcoming her was old news, but others suggested he had shown questionable judgment that could still hurt him.
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