In her concession speech, Ms. Wynne urged voters to elect enough Liberals to deny both Mr. Ford and Ms. Horwath control of the next legislature.
Ms. Wynne’s government gave its opponents at least one powerful issue by presiding over steep increases in electricity rates, particularly in rural areas, by the provincially owned power utility.
While she initially defended the increases as the cost of ending the use of coal power in the province, renewing nuclear power stations and rebuilding the electrical grid to prevent brownouts, Ms. Wynne eventually took on long-term debt in a complex program to reduce electrical rates in the short term.
But that did little to satisfy many people.
Both Mr. Ford, who incorrectly claims that Ontario’s rates are now the highest in North America, and Ms. Horwath have heavily promoted promises to further cut electrical rates. It is unclear how that would be funded.
On Tuesday, The Globe and Mail, which has tended to endorse the Conservatives, including during the last federal election, found itself unable to back Mr. Ford, calling him in an editorial “unfit to be premier” and a “populist chancer.”
But perhaps like many voters, its editorial board could not find another leader or party it prefers.
“The electorate cannot vote for leadership where it does not exist, or for platforms that are wrong for the times,” the newspaper said. “So if you are lucky enough to have a local candidate who embodies integrity and principle, we encourage you to support him or her.”