Sandra Pupatello is widely seen as the front-runner to become Ontario's next premier, but her biography remains a mystery to many.

She is a resident of Windsor, Ontario, holds a bachelor of arts degree from University of Windsor and was named that city's Woman of the Year in 2003.

UPDATE: Kathleen Wynne has been elected leader of the Ontario Liberal Party and will be the province's first woman -- and openly gay -- premier.

She is 50 years old and is married to Jim Bennett, a lawyer and politician in Newfoundland And Labrador.

She was previously married to Fabio Pupatello, of the well-known Windsor construction family, and told the Ottawa Citizen she kept the last name because that's what people knew her as. Her last name at birth was Pizzolitto.

Pupatello has tried repeatedly to have children without success, according to the Toronto Star. In 2003 she became pregnant via in-vitro fertilization, but later miscarried.

She is of Italian descent.

A Liberal since the age of 14, Pupatello was first elected to Ontario's legislature in 1995 and became a cabinet minister when the Liberals won the election in 2003.

She took on various portfolios over the years, from education to community and social services to economic development and trade — her dream job. That diverse background will help her lead the province and preserve its public services, Pupatello argued.

"This accumulated experience as a minister — on the social side, on education, on industry — tells me that when we have good jobs in Ontario, we as a Liberal government get to do the things we want to do," she said.

Known for her high heels, big hair and brash style, Pupatello always spoke her mind and quickly earned the reputation of an attack dog in the legislature. But she's mellowed since then, she said.

"When I entered the house in 1995, you spoke up or you got rolled over," she said of her Opposition days. "And I wasn't going to let that happen for the people of Ontario."

But even as a minister, her sharp tongue sometimes landed her in hot water. In 2009, she had to apologize after calling Toronto residents "a bunch of babies" for complaining three days into a garbage strike, when Windsor had quietly been suffering through a three-month garbage strike at the time.

She has admitted that she's made some "errors in judgment" over the years, but says she has learned from her mistakes and has a different style now.

Throughout the campaign, Pupatell has emphasized her role in attracting jobs when she was international trade and investment minister from 2008 to 2009, when Ontario was in the throes of a recession.

She is seen as a centrist, or even centre-right candidate.

Pupatello currently does not hold a seat in the legislature. If she becomes premier, a Liberal MPP will likely step down so she can run in a byelection. Pupatello has said that, if elected, she will maintain the prorogation of the legislature until she wins a seat.

If she wins the race, Pupatello will make history as Ontario's first female premier.

With files from The Canadian Press

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  • Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, right, congratulates incoming premier Kathleen Wynne at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Kathleen Wynne reacts after becoming the new leader of the Ontario Liberal party at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013. The 59-year-old Toronto politician will be the province's first female and openly gay premier.

  • Sandra Pupatello, right, congratulates Kathleen Wynne after Wynne becomes the new leader of the Ontario Liberal party at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Kathleen Wynne, left, and her spouse Jane Rounthwaite stand together on stage at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Kathleen Wynne celebrates with fellow candidates Eric Hoskins (left), Gerard Kennedy (right) and Charles Sousa after they gave her their support at the convention in Toronto on Saturday January 26, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Kathleen Wynne reacts to the results of the second ballot at the convention in Toronto on Saturday January 26, 2013.

  • Sandra Pupatello, right, talks on her phone next to Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, left, at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Before and After

    What the street outside the convention usually looks like and what it looked like during a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/01/26/ontario-liberal-convention-protest_n_2556296.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-politics">protest held by Ontario teachers and unions</a> on Saturday afternoon.

  • An Ontario Liberal Party delegate is heckled as protesters gather outside Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens on Saturday, January 26, 2013 while the party gathers to vote for a new provincial Leader and in turn a new premier of Ontario.

  • Supporters of Sandra Pupatello look on as Kathleen Wynne gains momentum at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • A look at the size of the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/01/26/ontario-liberal-convention-protest_n_2556296.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-politics">protest outside the Ontario Liberal Convention</a> in Toronto on Jan. 26, 2013.

  • Sandra Pupatello, left, gets endorsed by Harinder Takhar, right, at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Sandra Putatello celebrates with former prime minister John Turner at the convention in Toronto on Saturday January 26, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Kathleen Wynne speaks at the convention in Toronto on Saturday January 26, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Kathleen Wynne waves with fellow candidate Eric Hoskins (right) and his wife Samantha Nutt (front left) after he arrived to give her his support after the first ballot at the convention in Toronto on Saturday January 26, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Sandra Putatello celebrates with fellow candidate Harinder Takhar after he gave her his support at the convention in Toronto on Saturday January 26, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Sandra Putatello speaks at the convention in Toronto on Saturday January 26, 2013.

  • Kathleen Wynne dances on stage at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership convention delegates are greeted by hundreds of protesters as they arrive at convention in Toronto on Saturday January 26, 2013.

  • Gerard Kennedy waves on stage at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Harinder Takhar waves on stage at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Charles Sousa waves to supporters while on stage at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Eric Hoskins waves to supporters on stage at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, January 26, 2013.

  • Outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty waves from the stage with his family after speaking at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2013.

  • Outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty speaks at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2013.

  • Outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty speaks at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2013.

  • Premier Dalton McGuinty and his wife Terri McGuinty take their seats at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2013.

  • Interim federal Liberal Leader Bob Rae greets Premier Dalton McGuinty at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Sandra Pupatello departs after voting at the convention in Toronto on Friday January 25, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Kathleen Wynne talks with a delegate as she registers to vote at the leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Gerard Kennedy talks on his phone at the leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2013.

  • A cameraman is silhouetted against a projection screen at the Ontario Liberal Leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Charles Sousa and his wife Zenaida arrive to vote at the leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2013.

  • Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate supporters hang banners at the site of the convention in Toronto on Thursday January 24, 2013.


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So long and thanks for reading! If want to keep up to date on where Kathleen Wynne goes from here, follow HuffPost Canada on Twitter and like HuffPost Canada Politics on Facebook.

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kathleen wynne dalton mcguinty

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Kathleen Wynne in Ontario, Pauline Marois in Quebec, Christy Clark in B.C., Alison Redford in Alberta. There is also Kathy Dunderdale in Newfoundland and Labrador and Eva Aariak in Nunavut

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On the third ballot
1. Kathleen Wynne - 57.04 per cent

2. Sandra Pupatello - 42.96 per cent

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@ scott_stinson : The thronged masses await. #olpldr http://t.co/XjScLd6K

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The results of the final ballot, and a winner, are coming soon.

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@ Kris680News : All that's left of the protest at Church & Carlton, demo held outside the Liberal leadership convention #olpldr http://t.co/7p2Ks08h

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@ robferguson1 : The @Kathleen_Wynne #olpldr campaign is handing out smoked meat sandwiches from@Caplansky. Wish I hadn't eaten already! #onpoli

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@ genevievetomney : We're being told that both @Kathleen_Wynne and @SandraPupatello will appear onstage together as Yasir Naqvi reads results-Stay tuned #olpldr

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@ suntooz : New premier will be "incoming premier." Once she and @Dalton_McGuinty meet with LG, she's the premier-designate #onpoli #olpldr

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@ DanielKitts : Kennedy tells Steve Paikin that despite being through this before he is immensely disappointed to lose. #onpoli #OLPldr

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As we wait for the results of the third and final ballot, did you know that teens as young as 14 years old voted today at the convention?

(h/t to CBC News)

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Story here http://huff.to/XCR8LC

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Many are saying Kathleen Wynne's convention speech has won her the job of premier. You can watch it, and read responses, here http://huff.to/XDqO44

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@ so_bell : Flood was quickly cleared up - cheer from the delegates as they resume entering the ballot box area. #olpldr

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@ CBCQueensPark : Unless there's a concession, we'll be here a while. Huge voting lineup snakes past CBC TV. #olpldr http://t.co/KyIz4lFM

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@ SusanDelacourt : Richard Nixon's plumbers never retired, apparently. #Olpldr delayed because of flooding problem.

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That according to a police estimate reported by CBC News. You can read about the protest and see photos here.

http://huff.to/V9rT67

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@ lrobertsglobal : Likely looking at next lib cabinet led by Kathleen Wynne. Awaiting 3rd ballot results liberal convention #onpoli http://t.co/ApTmeFvM

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Sandra Pupatello will now have a tough time winning the leadership.

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Who he's throwing his support behind remains a mystery. Looks like he'll play kingmaker (or queen maker in this case) once again.

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Big blow for Pupatello

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@ Justin_Ling : Oh, apparently Sousa and Kennedy are moving together. So this is about to be decided. Weee! #olpldr

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1. Sandra Pupatello - 39.41 per cent
2. Kathleen Wynne - 36.18 per cent
3. Gerard Kennedy - 13.75 per cent
4. Charles Sousa - 9.79 per cent

5. Harinder Takhar - 0.87 per cent

Takhar, who has already pledged his support to Pupatello, is automatically eliminated. Look to see what Sousa and Kennedy will do now.

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The results of the second ballot are now way overdue. Luckily, it seems we'll be getting answers shortly.

@ spaikin : The floor awaits the 2nd ballot results which are allegedly less than 10 mins away. #onpoli #olpldr http://t.co/fsnF2bw9

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What the street outside the convention usually looks like and what it looked like during a protest held by Ontario teachers and unions on Saturday.

liberal leadership convention protest

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@ CBCQueensPark : @GKennedyOLP source tells me he needs to grow by gainin at least 75 @harindertakhar delegates. If he doesn't, it's over for him. #olpldr

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Rick Mercer is among the many observers cracking jokes http://huff.to/XIa3FL

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@ devyn_noonan : Wait, did Sousa actually go to Pupatello? #olpldr #onpoli

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@ OPSEUSisters : 'Make the BOSSES take the LOSSES!' Another awesome sign at the #J26rally today! #olpldr http://t.co/V54n61Sh

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