POLITICS

Conservative Leadership Race: Maxime Bernier Leads Contenders In Fundraising

01/31/2017 01:13 EST | Updated 01/31/2017 01:15 EST

OTTAWA — When it comes to fundraising in the Conservative leadership race, there's Maxime Bernier and then there is everybody else.

The latest quarterly financial reports released today by Elections Canada show the Quebec MP raised more than $586,000 during the final three months of 2016, with Kellie Leitch, the next closest candidate, coming in at more than $355,000.

Saskatchewan MP Andrew Scheer was the only other candidate who broke the $300,000 mark — he raked in $324,545 in the quarter.

maxime bernier

Bernier raised more than $586,000 during the final three months of 2016. (Photo: The Canadian Press)

The numbers from the election watchdog show that about two-fifths of Andrew Saxton's donations came from donors giving more than $1,000 each — himself included.

Brad Trost, on the other hand, raised one-quarter of his funds from donations of $100 or less.

The candidates registered with Elections Canada raised a combined total of almost $2.78 million from 11,540 different donors during the last three months of 2016, pushing the overall amount raised last year for the leadership race to almost $3.9 million.

Fundraising figures could shift

The numbers further cement Bernier and Leitch as the top financial draws in the campaign, with Bernier's year-end total tipping over the $1 million mark thanks to his final quarter and Leitch sitting second at about $805,000 raised during 2016. Michael Chong is third at $442,702 raised in 2016, with Scheer coming up behind him after a single quarter as a candidate.

The fundraising figures could shift in the final few months before the leadership vote with businessman Kevin O'Leary entering the race in January.

O'Leary's fundraising numbers will be released in the next round of data from Elections Canada.

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