Was Hudak factor in play in midtown races?

Only minutes after the declared Liberal majority one local PC candidate was blaming party leader Tim Hudak for the loss.

Retired banker David Porter, who was running against Premier Kathleen Wynne in Don Valley West, said he thought it had been “a winnable election” for his party, but that the appetite for change was swayed by discomfort with the PC austerity platform.

“In order for us to make significant inroads in Don Valley West, we needed a successful campaign at the top,” he said. “I’m not surprised. I certainly knew this riding would be tough under any scenario.”

He said conditions that would have seen him “pulling off an upset” would have been where the PC party was “clearly in majority territory and people looked at Kathleen as being yesterday’s news.”

Hudak took responsibility for the dismal showing and announced he would be stepping down as party leader in an address to supporters on election night.

Porter said he considers Don Valley West and most of Toronto as “moderate” areas, and the “right-wing platform” didn’t fit. He called the message about cutting 100,000 jobs “too harsh” in most people’s eyes.

“I think that, in many ways, was the issue that created the most noise, the most fear,” he said. “That was probably a bigger issue than the million jobs model.”

But not all local PC candidates shared Porter’s view.

Martin Abell, who lost to Liberal Glen Murray in Toronto Centre, said he was “very proud to have served Tim Hudak.”

“He inspired us and his improvements from 2011 to 2014 were a huge, positive example,” Abell said.

— With files from Ann Ruppenstein