Tough rules for Conservative leadership race could thin the field

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OTTAWA — Conservative leadership hopefuls are spinning up their organizations Monday with the official start of the federal party’s leadership race.

The entry fee, the number of signatures required and the deadlines to meet those commitments could winnow down the field of contenders.

Organizers of the 2020 vote are aiming for a short race that also helps the party prepare for the next federal election campaign.

Contestants have to pay $300,000 and get signatures from 3,000 party members spread across the country, and have just over two months to do that.

By comparison, the 2017 race had a fee of $100,000, only 300 members’ signatures were needed and candidates had nearly a year to register.

That contest ended with Andrew Scheer elected as the party’s leader but he stepped down in mid-December, triggering the new contest.