Less than a day after Dalton McGuinty made the shock announcement he was quitting as Ontario Premier, a campaign is building to send the Ottawa South MPP to Parliament Hill.
With Monday’s resignation McGuinty is suddenly free to run for the federal Liberal leadership, and if he does, he’ll have a ready-made campaign team all set to go.
For the past month, a draft campaign has been in the works to persuade McGuinty to jump into the federal fray.
Some of his closest campaign advisers have been involved, including brother Brendan McGuinty — who was on hand for McGuinty’s news conference Monday — and Don Guy, campaign director for each of McGuinty’s three winning provincial campaigns.
Deputy chief of staff Dave Gene, former chief of staff Chris Morley and former operations director Charlie Angelakos are also part of the group.
Sources say a leadership campaign road map has already been sketched out.
“The core nucleus of the team that he’s been able to build around him, that took him through three election campaigns, is a proven team … It would be a ready-made team that would be able to focus on this (leadership) as well,” said one insider close to McGuinty.
McGuinty has not yet decided whether to take the plunge, those close to him insist, but he is feeling the pressure.
“I don’t think he’s changed his mind yet,” said one close associate. “But I can tell you that some of this is getting to him.”