Doug Ford will not seek the leadership of the Ontario PC party, he announced on Thursday. He will support declared leadership candidate Christine Elliott instead.
- 'Draft Doug Ford' site urges him to run for PC leadership
- Doug Ford's PC leadership ambitions leave Tories split
- Doug Ford mulling bid for Ontario PC leadership
It was the second time Ford announced he would not be getting involved in provincial politics. He has hinted at his intention to join the ongoing leadership numerous times in the past. His late father, Douglas B. Ford, served as a Tory MPP for a single term in the 1990s.
Ford said not running for the PC leadership was the hardest decision he's ever made, but he needed a break.
However he promised to campaign "aggressively" for the PC party, he said.
"My priority is my family. My priorities are business. But that doesn't mean I won't be there for the people of Ontario," he said.
Ford said the Progressive Conservatives need to "open the tent" and be the party for the "working class people." He was critical of Tim Hudak, the outgoing PC leader, and his pledge to cut 100,000 public sector jobs in the last provincial election.
Ford has spoken to four out of the five declared candidates for PC leadership. He said only Vic Fedeli has not reached out to him.
"Each and every one of them would do much better than what we have right now," he said of the candidates.
Last month Ford lost to John Tory in Toronto's mayoral race, and shortly after delivering his defeat speech told reporters that he was considering making a leadership bid. The race currently includes MPPs Elliott, Fedeli, Lisa MacLeod, Monte McNaughton and Conservative MP Patrick Brown.
Ford said despite his announcement on Thursday, he will not give up political life.
"I will not give up on running for office," he said. "I love politics, I love serving the people. At this point in my life, I'm just going to take a little break."
Ford said he valued Elliott's loyalty, as she and her late husband Jim Flaherty stood by the Ford family during trying times.
"Thanks for your endorsement," said Elliott on Twitter. "I know we share the same concerns and I welcome your support."