Former city councillor positions himself as front runner for Tory party leadership

(The Guardian Editorial) Rob Lantz, the third hopeful to declare last week for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of P.E.I., has been quickly established as the candidate to beat.

Mr. Lantz achieved that position based largely on his own talents and performance during his campaign launch Thursday morning but it was easy to see by glancing around the room that party insiders and power brokers are starting to rally behind him.

Of the three leadership announcements, Mr. Lantz had the best speech, the biggest crowd, struck the most receptive chord among party faithful and reached out to PC members “to heal old wounds, not settle old scores.”

The former Charlottetown city councillor  attracted what some might describe as the party’s “back room boys” to support his leadership bid. It was quickly evident that the display of political force in the room was designed to bring the undecided to his side. Party insiders must feel that Mr. Lantz has the best chance against Wade MacLauchlan and the Liberal machine.

If he makes it to the premier’s office, Mr. Lantz says he will get rid of cars and credit cards for senior staffers and government ministers. He made the pledge as the first of what he says will be a number of announcements over the course of his campaign to become party leader.He singled out cards and cars because they are an obvious display of entitlements, and sure to fire up the partisan crowd who have chafed for more than seven years under Liberal rule.

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