Steven Del Duca has resigned as the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.
He lost the race for Vaughan—Woodbridge, and the Liberals are currently projected at eight seats, four short of official party status.
"This isn't the outcome that we'd hoped for, that we worked hard for," he said.
"Earlier this evening, I informed our party president of my decision to step down," he said.
On Wednesday, Del Duca said he'd stay on no matter the result, but the poor showing evidently changed his mind.
The party's constitution says an interim leader will be elected by members of the party caucus, the presidents of the constituency associations that aren't represented by a caucus member, and the members of the party's executive council.
Del Duca lost in Vaughan—Woodbridge, leaving the Liberal leader without a seat at Queen's Park. PC candidate Michael Tibollo beat him by nearly 20 points in the 2018 election.
Del Duca struggled to gain significant name recognition during his time as leader because he didn't have a seat in the legislature. The party ran a massive Facebook advertising campaign during the election to try and get his name out there.
Both the official Ontario Liberal Party page and Del Duca's personal page spent hundreds of thousands of dollars advertising on the social media platform.
The Liberal election campaign was a bumpy ride.
Three of the party's candidates were dropped for various infractions, including engaging in conspiracy theories and past homophobic remarks. One candidate, Etobicoke—Centre's Noel Semple, had several controversial statements unearthed, but Del Duca stood by him.
Del Duca was born to an Italian father and Scottish mother, and he's lived in the Vaughan—Woodbridge for decades.
He's fond of invoking his daughters in political speeches, often in comments about public education. His family also helped canvass the riding while he was busy touring the rest of the province, he said.
Del Duca only canvassed Vaughan—Woodbridge around six times, he told QP Briefing.
His partisan political career got started when he was a staffer for former Vaughan Liberal MPP Greg Sorbara. When Sorbara retired in 2012, Del Duca stepped in and won a byelection. He then served as parliamentary assistant to the minister of finance.
He was elected in the 2014 general election and named to cabinet as minister of transportation. He oversaw a massive $29 billion transit infrastructure spending program.
Del Duca was no stranger to infrastructure policy. Before entering politics, he was head of public affairs for the Carpenters District Council of Ontario.
Del Duca tends to deliver monotone, polished speeches devoid of any ums, ahs, or other verbal crutches. Election night was no different, despite the weighty personal implications.
"I have no doubt the women and men that Ontario Liberals have elected to the legislature will do their part, in fact will do more than their part, to help grow a new and energetic progressive movement here in Ontario," Del Duca said.
"It will, however, be a movement that will be led by a new leader."
The Liberals entered the election with seven seats. They held six, lost one, and picked up two others on election night. They won about 24 per cent of the vote, up five points from the disastrous 2018 election.
The Liberals' 24 per cent is almost identical to the NDP's vote share, highlighting the inefficiency of their vote distribution.
Amanda Simard lost to PC candidate Stéphane Sarrazin in Glengarry—Prescott—Russell. Simard was elected as a PC in 2018, but crossed the floor and ran under the Liberal banner.
Former Toronto city councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon won for the party in Beaches—East York, besting the NDP candidate Kate Dupuis by just over two percentage points.
The Liberals also picked up Kingston and the Islands, a historically red riding they lost in 2018. Liberal candidate Ted Hsu beat incumbent NDP candidate Mary Rita Holland by six percentage points.
They held on to Don Valley West and East, Orleans, Ottawa Vanier and Ottawa South, and Scarborough—Guildwood.
The party came within five percentage points in nine ridings, including losing by just under two percentage points in each of Etobicoke—Lakeshore, Eglinton—Lawrence, and Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte.
The two new members of the Liberal caucus are both experienced politicians, albeit not at the provincial level.
McMahon served on Toronto city council from 2010 to 2018. She comes from a political family, her father having served as mayor of Collingwood. After leaving city council, she served as an advisor to the controversial Sidewalk Labs project on Toronto's waterfront.
Hsu — who has a PhD in physics — represented Kingston and the Islands in the House of Commons from 2011 to 2015, and was named Parliamentarian of the Year by Maclean's in 2013.