Dimitri Soudas and Eve Adams in their home in Oakville on May 23, 2014, doing interviews responding to allegations of fraud in the heated federal Conservative nomination battle. David MacIntosh/CBC
After a bitter — and at times bizarre — battle for the Conservative nomination in the newly created Toronto-area riding of Oakville North-Burlington, MP Eve Adams has abruptly withdrawn from the race.
In a letter to supporters sent out late Friday night, Adams cites health reasons for her decision.
“Since my concussion last February and against my doctor’s orders, I have not rested,” she wrote.
Adams suffered a concussion after slipping in the doorway of an Ottawa restaurant last winter.
“I assumed as with all previous health concerns that with time, my body would heal itself,” she continues, “However, six months later, I continue to suffer from my concussion and the time has come to take my health seriously.”
Adams surprised many observers when she launched her bid for the nomination in this riding given she elected to represent Mississauga-Brampton South in the last election.
The bid quickly became acrimonious in the perceived “safe seat” for the Conservatives with accusations of dirty tricks and abuse of power.
What launched this local spat between rival partisans into the national spotlight is the fact Adams’ campaign manager and fiancé is Dimitri Soudas – former director of communications and senior adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Soudas left the PMO in 2011 and joined the Canadian Olympic Committee but quit that job only weeks ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics to become executive director of the Conservative Party of Canada.
The move was largely seen as an effort to prepare the party for its re-election bid in 2015 however, accusations soon surfaced that Soudas was using his position to tip the scales in his fiancé’s nomination battle.
After an investigation, sources say party brass dismissed Soudas from his post — although he says he left voluntarily to concentrate on running Adams’ nomination campaign.
Adams herself drew the ire of fellow conservatives after reportedly showing up uninvited at a meeting of the Conservative party’s Oakville North-Burlington riding association and getting into a heated argument with some members of the committee.
Adams was cautioned by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to “focus on her job” as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Health — and also by party president John Walsh about her campaign spending.
In May, the party first cleared Adams to run for the nomination — but then put the nomination vote on hold as it investigated further accusations of dirty tricks levelled by both Adams and her rival for the spot, local chiropractor Natalia Lishchyna.
Sources told CBC News earlier that party officials were pushing to see both Adams and Lishchyna disqualified from the race.
Adams’ letter concludes by saying, “Today, I can reaffirm to you the promise that you will always be able to count on me and my support,” although it doesn’t make it clear if she not intends to run for re-election in 2015 in her current riding or any other.
Conservative Party spokesperson Cory Hann said in a statement that Adams "withdrew before the National Candidate Selection Committee rendered a decision," and that the party is "not commenting past that on the withdrawal."
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