Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Gary Mar was endorsed Monday by Ted Morton and Rick Orman, two of the losing candidates on Saturday's first ballot.

"I am just delighted that the two of these men are now part of our team," Mar told a Calgary news conference.

Morton and Orman are considered representatives of the right wing of the party but Mar says he agrees with them on a number of issues like the importance of fiscal responsibility.

Morton has also spoken to him about the importance of bringing people back to the Progressive Conservative party.

Mar finished with 41 per cent of the vote on Saturday ahead of second and third-place finishers, Alison Redford and Doug Horner.

Morton called this result "remarkable" and said he didn't believe the best interests of the party or the province would be served by a "divisive" final two weeks leading up to the second ballot on Oct. 1.

"I think it's time to move on, let Gary form a government, and get on with the business of Albertans," Morton said.

He added that Mar also promised to get the province back to a balanced budget by 2013.

Horner's first ballot support was mostly in northern and rural Alberta, while Redford won half her votes in Calgary. Orman alluded to those results in explaining why it was in the party's best interest to throw his support behind Mar.

"I, like Ted, was impressed with the breadth of support Gary had across the province. It was not regionalized," Orman said.

"He made it clear that he was a leader for all Alberta, not urban, not rural, and frankly, I would say that the first vote was a testimonial for that."

Mar believes he still has work to do, despite the newly declared support from Morton and Orman.

"It does not put me over the top, by any stretch of the imagination because there still could be tens of thousands of new memberships sold between now and 12 days from now," he said.

According to party rules, a second ballot is held with the top three finishers if no candidate is able to win more than 50 per cent of the vote on the first ballot.

 

.