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Tory campaign manager says Ford opponents included media, ghost of Patrick Brown

Ontario premier-elect Doug Ford walks out onto the front lawn of the Ontario Legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto on Friday, June 8, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

TORONTO – Doug Ford’s campaign manager says Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives had four opponents as they headed into last week’s election _ the incumbent Liberals, the NDP, the ghost of former Tory leader Patrick Brown, and the media.

At a post-election analysis event, Kory Teneycke, who previously worked as former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper’s director of communications, laid out what he described as the challenges to Ford’s Tories before the party secured a majority.

Teneycke says the Tories had to put together a campaign in just five weeks after Ford won the party leadership following Brown’s abrupt resignation amid sexual misconduct allegations he denies.

He says the campaign found itself running against Brown because the former leader’s departure revealed infighting within the party, and says the Tories also decided to “campaign against the media” by producing their own branded content aimed at target voters.

Teneycke credits the party’s online advertising strategy as key to the Tory win, saying it targeted voters in different regions where the Tories felt they had the best chance of winning.

The Tories won 76 seats in last week’s election, which also saw the NDP win enough ridings to form the official opposition and reduced the Liberals from a majority government to a mere seven seats.