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Failed candidate calls Ford's riding appointments 'brazen abuse of power'

London West PC candidate Jake Skinner is upset with the way the party unilaterally chose candidates to fill riding vacancies. (Facebook)

A candidate who failed to get the nomination in a southern Ontario riding is calling Doug Ford’s decision to unilaterally appoint candidates a “brazen abuse of power.”

Ford and the PC party released a statement Saturday announcing 11 appointees for ridings where a nomination meeting hadn’t been scheduled.

Jake Skinner, a Thames Valley District School Board trustee, says he’s in a “state of shock” and “deeply disappointed” after learning another candidate had been named to the riding of London-West.

“As Progressive Conservatives we know that nominations should be earned, not bestowed,” Skinner wrote in a letter to supporters which was posted to his Twitter account.

“I had hoped to have an open and transparent nomination meeting for our thousands of local supporters to come together and make their voices heard. They’re the grassroots of our party and they deserve to have their say on who is chosen as their candidate.”

Skinner goes on to say that the party never gave him a reason for their decision adding he feels he was sold-out as part of a backroom deal.

Local radio talk show host Andrew Lawton was selected by Ford to represent the riding. He issued a statement saying while he was eager for a “good, old fashioned contested nomination” he understood the party’s decision given shortened calendar leading up to election day, June 7.

Skinner called Lawton’s nomination “disrespectful” by noting that he declared his candidacy only 10 days ago.

Skinner closes his letter by saying, “Rest assured, we will be taking action” without getting into any specifics.