01/13/2013 01:55 EST | Updated 03/15/2013 05:12 EDT

Ontario Liberals continue selecting convention delegates

Ontario Liberals continue to elect delegates who will help choose the next premier, with half of the delegates selected so far declaring first-ballot support for either Sandra Pupatello or Kathleen Wynne.

Six people — the four others being Eric Hoskins, Gerard Kennedy, Charles Sousa and Harinder Takhar — are vying to succeed Premier Dalton McGuinty, who announced last October he was stepping down from his job as Liberal leader.

There were originally seven leadership candidates, but Glen Murray dropped out of the race this past week and threw his support behind Wynne.

McGuinty agreed to stay on until the party selects a new leader. The new leader will be chosen at a leadership convention at the end of this month.

By the end of this weekend, the party will have selected 16 delegates from each of the 107 ridings across Ontario.

The delegate selection process began Saturday, when hundreds of delegates were chosen at dozens of leadership election meetings in the central, eastern and northern regions of Ontario.

Christine McMillan, the party’s vice-president of communications, released results overnight from 62 of 63 leadership election meetings that took place on Saturday.

Of the 880 delegates elected in those meetings, 248 were committed first-ballot delegates for Pupatello and 229 for Wynne.

Another 70 leadership election meetings will take place in Toronto today, as well as in the southwest and south-central parts of the province.

More than 1,700 elected delegates, as well as some 600 ex-officio delegates — who include current and former MPPs, party officials and Ontario MPs — can vote for the next leader.

To win the leadership, a contender must receive the votes of 50 per cent plus one of the elected and ex-officio delegates.