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Jeremy Roberts, who lost last May by 15 votes, will carry the party’s banner in the coming provincial election because he was the only candidate to put his name forward for the new race.Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

A new candidate will represent the Ontario Progressive Conservatives in an Ottawa riding plagued by complaints of ballot-box stuffing after the initial winner decided to bow out of the race.

The move comes as the party tries to fend off a spate of headlines about controversial nomination races while members vote on a new leader to replace Patrick Brown.

The Ontario PC Party ordered new votes last month in Ottawa West-Nepean and Scarborough Centre, where the initial races ended in controversy amid allegations of voting irregularities.

At a meeting on Sunday to discuss an appeal by the initial winner in the suburban Ottawa riding, Karma Macgregor, PC Party executives upheld the decision by the provincial nomination committee to hold a new vote, party insiders said. Ms. Macgregor did not submit her name as a candidate for the new race.

Jeremy Roberts, who lost last May by 15 votes, will carry the party's banner in the coming provincial election because he was the only candidate to put his name forward for the new race.

"I think everyone will agree that what happened last May was not a fair process and was not something that anybody in a country like Canada would like to see happen but right now I'm just trying to be positive and looking forward because … we've only got three months left until the election and we've got a lot of work to do," said Mr. Roberts, 26, who is on leave from his job as an adviser to a Conservative MP.

Former Conservative senator Marjory LeBreton, who is supporting Mr. Roberts's candidacy, said the problems with the initial vote were "blatant" and unlike anything she has ever seen before, including irregularities on the voter list and acceptance of questionable identification on voting day.

"We just sought to have the party do the right thing. Unfortunately that was not going to happen until there was a change of leadership," she said.

Of the 56 competitive nominations the PC Party held under Mr. Brown's leadership, nearly one in four have ended in controversy, a Globe and Mail tally has found. The tally does not include 14 ridings where candidates were acclaimed.

Ms. Macgregor asked party officials on the weekend to reimburse expenses she incurred during her nine months as the candidate in Ottawa West-Nepean, said party sources familiar with the discussions. A statement from Mr. Fedeli's office on Monday said: "The Leader is not considering, nor is he supportive of, any settlement with the candidate."

Ms. Macgregor did not return voice-mails seeking comment on Monday and her website appeared to be defunct. She is the mother of Tamara Macgregor, who held communications and policy positions in Mr. Brown's office and previously dated him.

The Globe revealed this weekend that top advisers to Mr. Brown felt strongly that the nomination had to be revoked because of the appearance of fraud. But a lawyer for the PC Party expressed concern about how Tamara would react to overturning the result. "If we go down this path, we need to be ready for … the wrath of jilted ex GF/ex staffer," the lawyer said. Mr. Brown ignored his advisers and let the nomination stand.

Mr. Fedeli ordered a review in February of several nominations. PC Party officials ruled on the weekend that the nomination committee had the right to call a new meeting in Ottawa West-Nepean because of the conduct of party officials, said a senior party official close to the talks.

Most of the board members of the riding association quit last June over allegations of ballot-stuffing. The former president, Emma McLennan, flagged concerns with the party executive last year, including questioning the legitimacy of 73 members listed as living at an apartment building although their names did not appear on the building's tenant directory.

As well, there were 28 more votes than registered voters at one of the ballot boxes and an additional 17 ballots were removed "after all parties agreed they were the result of ballot-box stuffing," according to a letter the executive sent to the riding's members shortly after the vote. After that letter was mailed to the riding's 1,466 members, Canada Post returned 200 letters as undeliverable.

In the riding of Scarborough Centre, former cabinet minister Marilyn Mushinski, who chaired the nominating committee, said she did not learn until the day before the vote last June that Thenusha Parani was a candidate. Along with other party members, Ms. Mushinski said she called on the executive to strip Ms. Parani of her nomination because of alleged irregularities. But they were ignored, she said previously.

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