08/02/2016 12:25 EDT

Kellie Leitch Out With Early Lead In Conservative Leadership Fundraising

The first look at fundraising data for the Conservative leadership race shows Ontario MP Kellie Leitch off to an early lead over her rivals.

Elections Canada reports that in the second quarter of this year Leitch raised $234,785.59 from 334 donors, putting her well ahead of Maxime Bernier and Michael Chong, the two other leadership contestants who had entered the race before the end of the quarter.

Chong, an MP from Ontario, raised more money than Bernier, while the Quebec MP raised his money from a larger number of donors: Chong raised $84,689.38 from 141 contributors, while Bernier raised $56,902.83 from 218 contributors.

Kellie Leitch speaks in the House of Commons on June 4, 2015. (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

In total, the three leadership contestants raised $376,377.80. The Conservative Party has set the spending limit in the leadership race, which will end on May 27, 2017, at $5 million per candidate — so these candidates have a long way to go.

Ontario MP Tony Clement and Alberta MP Deepak Obhrai joined the race in July.

Conservatives dip in fundraising but still raise the most

The data from Elections Canada also showed that the Conservatives raised more money than the other parties in the second quarter of 2016, taking in $5,097,828.07 from 37,223 contributors.

That put them ahead of the Liberals, who raised $4,970,039.25 from 36,080 contributors, and the New Democrats, who took in $1,083,314.29 from 15,906 contributors.

The Greens raised $661,374.09 from 8,809 contributors, and the Bloc Québécois took in $129,970.79 from 1,254 contributors.

The Liberals saw the biggest increase in fundraising since the first quarter of 2016. Their haul was up about $913,000, compared to drops of $282,000 for the NDP and $374,000 for the Conservatives.

Against the mark of the second quarter of 2015, in the run-up to last year's federal election, the Liberals raised about $762,000 more, while the Conservatives dropped by $2.3 million and the New Democrats by $3.4 million.

In fact, this past quarter was the worst for the NDP since September 2011. The Conservative total was its lowest since September 2014.


Photo gallery Conservative Leadership Candidates See Gallery