Glen Murray announced on Thursday that he was dropping out of the race for leadership of the Ontario Liberal party. He will endorse opponent Kathleen Wynne for the position.

Murray, a former mayor of Winnipeg and recently the Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities, explained his decision in a press conference. Among the reasons he cited was the success Wynne’s campaign has shown in recruiting new party members and in running delegate candidates.

“I think the best chance for the renewal I want to see in Ontario and in the party—and the person who is better able to get us there than I am—is my friend Kathleen Wynne,” he said.

Though Murray had a strong presence in the Liberal leadership debates—the final one of which was held Wednesday night, a day before he announced he was dropping out—the number of his supporters was not keeping pace with the other candidates. And he had
gained the endorsement of only one colleague within the caucus: Kevin Flynn of Oakville. The Globe and Mail predicted that Murray was likely to come in last after the upcoming weekend’s delegate selection meetings for the January 25–27 Liberal convention.

“All seven of us [candidates] will tell you that this is a big mountain that we’re climbing, and I’m quite happy to help someone get a leg up rather than just climb it by myself,” said Murray.

He was joined at the conference by Wynne, who assured his supporters that he would play a role in her government if she was elected.

“It’s very important that [Murray] be part of my team and that he play a senior role in my cabinet,” she said. “I need his ideas.” This was in reference to the numerous policy proposals Murray made during the race.

Wynne is currently presumed to be the frontrunner in the Ontario leadership race to succeed premier Dalton McGuinty, who has led the province’s Liberal party since 1996. Now that Murray has dropped out, the remaining candidates competing against Wynne are Eric Hoskins, Gerard Kennedy, Sandra Pupatello, Charles Sousa, and Harinder Takhar.

Murray’s departure from the race prompted responses from other candidates as well. Sousa released a statement congratulating him for running a strong campaign, saying that Murray “brought passion, ideas, and enthusiasm to the race and has been a strong member of our caucus and cabinet since first joining us at Queen’s Park”.