A southwestern Ontario NDP candidate has pulled out of the election campaign, and thrown his support behind the Liberals.
Ryan Dolby informed the NDP national office on Wednesday morning that he was dropping out of the running in Elgin-Middlesex-London.
Dolby said he is concerned about the possibility of Conservative Leader Stephen Harper forming a majority government.
"I've decided to drop out of the race to give my support to [Liberal] Graham Warwick. I'm really worried if Stephen Harper does get a majority what he'd do to this country," Dolby said in an interview.
Dolby ran in the 2008 election for the NDP in the riding, placing third behind the Conservatives and the Liberals.
He did not give the NDP's national office any advance notice of the decision to pull out of the race, instead he sent out a release to the party and the media at the same time. He did give a "courtesy call" to Warwick, however, Dolby said during an interview with Evan Solomon on CBC's Power & Politics. He's also told Warwick he's available to help on his campaign.
Kathleen Monk, a NDP spokesperson, confirmed Dolby's decision to drop out of the campaign.
"Ryan Dolby has withdrawn from the campaign. We will be nominating a new candidate in the next 48 hours," Monk said.
Dolby told Solomon that he hopes the riding association doesn't run a NDP candidate against Warwick.
Dolby's campaign website has already been taken down. A cached version of the website said Dolby is a member of the Canadian Auto Workers Union Local 2168.
The former NDP candidate said his decision is nothing to do with a coalition between the Liberals and the NDP.
"It's the opposition of a coalition, I'm dropping out and telling my supporters to support Mr. Warwick," Dolby said.
He said he first spoke with Liberal MPs "in the last month" and he felt he fit in well with the party.
The decision prompted a strong message of condemnation on Dolby's Facebook page from media analyst and former NDP strategist Ian Capstick.
"What you did today was a disgrace," wrote Capstick. "If you didn't want to run in the race — don't sign up."
Conservative candidate John Baird used Dolby's resignation to accuse the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois of plotting a coalition, something Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has repeatedly denied.
"He was so itching to get behind the coalition that he couldn't wait until after election day," Baird said.
"It will be interesting to see whether Mr. Layton moves to replace this candidate. This was not someone who was nominated last week or last month. This is someone who was the NDP standard bearer in the last election," he said.
Dolby said he was not surprised by the Conservatives' interpretation of his withdrawal and he dismissed it as "just a right-wing Harper attack."
"I'm sure the Conservatives will be screaming this is proof of a coalition but it's just the opposite," he said in his interview with Solomon. "This was a personal decision on my part."
People have told him it was a "courageous" decision, Dolby said. "I'm hearing more positive feedback than negative," he said.
Shortly after Baird denounced Dolby, former Vaughan, Ont., Liberal candidate Tony Genco said he wouldn't run, and was throwing his support behind Conservative Julian Fantino.
Genco and Fantino fought a pitched battle just months ago leading up to a Nov. 2010 by-election.