The Ontario Liberals targeted Vaughan—Woodbridge with Facebook ads early last week, as party leader and local candidate Steven Del Duca faces an uphill battle for election in the riding.
From publicly available data released by Facebook, it's not possible to view a complete list of ads geotargeted at Vaughan—Woodbridge. But some have obvious references to the riding.
Liberal Facebook accounts have published 38 ads since Monday of last week with references to Vaughan—Woodbridge.
The ads got between 244,000 and 310,962 impressions.
About 60 per cent of that traffic went to an ad targeting seniors headed: "Our plan will ensure seniors in Vaughan—Woodbridge get the assistance and support they need to live in their own homes."
Del Duca entered this leadership campaign relatively unknown compared to the leaders of the other two major parties.
The Liberals have been trying to raise his profile, including by publishing a series of YouTube videos focused on Del Duca's personal life, called "Who I Am."
They've been up against endless attacks from Doug Ford and the PCs', who for months have deliberatively branded Del Duca as "Kathleen Wynne's right-hand man."
Del Duca lost Vaughan—Woodbridge in 2018 to PC Michael Tibollo by an 18 per cent margin. Tibollo, a lawyer, served in multiple positions in Ford's cabinet over the last four years.
Even though he's party leader this time around, Del Duca has his work cut out for him against the incumbent associate minister of mental health and addictions.
Having said that, Mainstreet Research's polling model currently has Del Duca a few points ahead in Vaughan—Woodbridge, the only York Region riding the model doesn't assign to the PCs.
Before a redistribution, Del Duca was elected twice in the former riding of Vaughan by comfortable margins.
Federally, Vaughan—Woodbridge has been narrowly won by the Liberals since it was created before the 2015 election, with the Conservatives in a string of second-place finishes.
The last leader of one of Ontario's three major parties to lose their seat in an election was John Tory, Toronto's current mayor. Tory led the PCs into the 2007 election and switched ridings from where he was elected in a byelection two years to run in Don Valley West, against Wynne, who at the time was a rising star for the Liberals but had only held the seat for one term. Tory remained PC leader for another year and a half before running and losing again in a byelection, ending the provincial portion of his political career.
With files from Charlie Pinkerton.
Mainstreet Research is part owner of iPolitics and QP Briefing.