TORONTO – It’s the final day for would-be leaders of the Ontario Liberal party to decide whether or not to enter the race to replace Dalton McGuinty.

There are seven contenders in the contest to become the next premier of Ontario after Government Services Minister Harinder Takhar resigned late Thursday and become a last-minute entrant.

Four of the other leadership candidates were ministers under McGuinty and also quit cabinet to launch their bids: Kathleen Wynne, Glenn Murray, Charles Sousa and Eric Hoskins.

The two others, Sandra Pupatello and Gerard Kennedy, are both former McGuinty cabinet ministers.

Kennedy left Ontario politics for the federal scene in 2006, while Pupatello a Windsor native and the only candidate from outside the greater Toronto area left politics in 2011 for the private sector.

Friday at 5 p.m. is the deadline to enter the race, while midnight is the deadline to become a member of the Liberal party, eligible to vote for the delegates who will actually vote directly for the next premier.