Canada Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary, the businessman turned TV star who is sometimes likened to Donald Trump, has announced that he is pulling out of the race.
CBC said in a Tweet that the millionaire businessman will make his announcement during an
O’Leary, the star of TV’s Shark Tank, had pledged to be Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “worst nightmare”, when he threw his hat into the ring in January, and likened Trudeau negotiating with Trump as “Bambi versus Godzilla.”
But his plans haven’t panned out. In a Wednesday afternoon statement, O’Leary said beating Trudeau in the 2019 election would be a “huge challenge.”
“This was not an easy decision for me to make but after much thought and deliberation, it is the right one for the Conservative Party and the country,” O’Leary said.
O’Leary said he made his decision after concluding that he would be unable to expand the Conservative party base of support in the province of Quebec, because he does not speak French.
“I’m a numbers guy,” O’Leary said. “And the likelihood of gaining a lot of seats in Quebec is low.”
O’Leary said he believed e would have to win at least 30 of the 78 seats in Quebec, and the Conservatives only held 12 seats after the 2015 election that installed Trudeau’s Liberals in power.
“I was singularly unsuccessful in my outreach there,” O’Leary said. “I really worked hard to move the needle.”
He qualified this by saying he had a “high probability” of winning the Conservative leadership race, but that it wasn’t “the right thing to do for the party” if he could not realistically beat Trudeau.
“I worked like hell on this campaign,” O’Leary said, though he has come under fire from other Conservative candidates for not taking the campaign seriously as he appeared numerous times on QVC, the shopping channel, to hawk his wares.
O’Leary threw his endorsement behind MP Maxime Bernier, from Quebec, on Wednesday.
“I want the DNA of my policies and objectives to survive into the general election,” O’Leary explained. “The candidate that best mirrors my policies is Maxime Bernier.”
While appearing amicable together during the Wednesday afternoon press conference, O’Leary and Bernier traded barbs on the campaign trail.
“Kevin O’Leary is a loser,” Bernier said in a March 17 email to supporters, per CBC. “I’m a winner.”
The Conservative Party elections are on May 27.
Additional reporting by Business Insider
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