The Windsor native held half a dozen ministerial portfolios while a member of the McGuinty government from 1995-2011.
Going for her Political looks that kill; front-runner status - the PCs have already run attack ads; Bob Chiarelli. The Ottawa MPP and close McGuinty ally gives Pupatello access to the preem's political organization.
Going against her Doesn't have a seat in the Legislature. Lingering feeling among some party faithful that she jumped ship because she smelled the political crosswinds blowing in favour of the PCs before last provincial election. Questionable "outsider" status she's trying to cultivate to distance herself from McGuinty's misdeeds.
Behind the scenes The party establishment's choice now that Deb Matthews, who reportedly had former party president Greg Sorbara and brother-in-law David Peterson in the fold, has decided not to run.
Odds She's the favourite. A Pupatello win buys the party time before a next election. She says she won't recall the Legislature until she wins a seat in a by-election, which means we may not have a general election till September, after the customary summer BBQ circuit break.
The citizenship and immigration minister and former minister of labour has been Libs' point guy on the Pan Am Games file.
Going for him Big-biz ties (he's a former RBC exec), personable style. Remember, this is not a general election, but a convention where delegates chosen by riding associations will be the ones casting ballots. Votes will be won in living rooms across the province.
Going against him Represents Mississauga South, ground zero in the Libs' gas plant fiasco. Right-wing sensibilities - he was behind that Grits for Tory campaign when former PC leader John Tory was running for mayor.
Behind the scenes Sousa has the support of skilled trades unions and heavyweight backroom help in the form of long-time party mover and shaker Bob Richardson. He may become the candidate who most appeals to party's ethnic members if, as widely rumoured, Harinder Takhar decides not to run.
Odds Better than most people think. But won't win very many votes in Toronto with his proposal to hand control of the TTC over to the provincial transit agency, Metrolinx.
A former minister of transportation and of education, Wynne had a hand in the $8 billion deal to build LRTs in Toronto and in the implementation of all-day kindergarten.
Going for her Six years' cabinet experience, broad base (LGBT, minorities and women make up a formidable cross-section of support), grasp of the art of political compromise, reputation as a giant-killer (who could forget her trouncing of PC leader John Tory in the 2007?).
Going against her The Libs' wage freeze legislation, has strained relations with members of teachers unions, with which Wynne, a former school board trustee and minister of education, has a long-standing association.
Behind the scenes Received endorsements this week from Attorney General John Garretsen, Labour Minister Linda Jeffrey, MPPs David Zimmer and Mario Sergio, as well as a number of former Lib candidates in past elections.
Odds One to watch. Has stronger than expected rural backing. Her campaign chair, Tom Allison, says Wynne has an organization up in every riding in the province.
McGuinty's minister of training, colleges and universities is a former mayor of Winnipeg and president of the Canadian Urban Institute.
Going for him Smarts, motor mouth, credentials to burn. Murray is a details guy. As first out of the gate, he's been winning the media exposure race so far.
Going against him Off-putting style, less than scintillating first week and a half, in which his former chief of staff, Tom Allison, has joined rival Kathleen Wynne's campaign. And the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario's come out against Murray's no-money-down tuition plan, calling it a recipe for increased student debt load.
Behind the scenes Former Grit MPP George Smitherman and RIM head Jim Balsillie showed up at his launch, but neither endorsed Murray.
Odds Not a serious contender but someone who will enliven the race and get Libs talking about uncomfortable issues like the party's support of funding for Catholic schools despite the Catholic board's opposition to gay-straight alliance groups.
The former Liberal golden boy has (mostly) fallen off the face of the earth after resigning as education minister in Dalton McGuinty's government to take an unsuccessful stab at the federal Grit leadership in 2006.
Going for him Record of turning around education system post-Harris-era manufactured crisis; a few political IOUs.
Going against him That failed leadership run - he's still blamed for saddling the party with the disaster that was Stéphane Dion. Flake factor.
Behind the scenes Kennedy is seeking a return to politics, he says, "to help Ontarians have more say and more faith in their political system." Perhaps it's the pull of unrealized dreams. Easy to forget that he was the establishment choice in 1996 when a guy named McGuinty came from fourth on the first ballot to steal the leadership from him.
Odds Has enough backing to drop $50K required to enter the race. But about the nicest thing any Grits can say about Kennedy is that he'll attract attention (the unwanted kind) to the race. He's reportedly recruited the help of former Grit MPPs George Smitherman and Joe Cordiano, which is probably the clearest indication of the unalterable fact that he's politically radioactive.
The St. Paul's MPP and minister of children and youth services is also a co-founder of War Child Canada.
Going for him He's the only Rhodes Scholar in the bunch. Impressive launch at Centre for Social Innovation Tuesday, November 13; international experience outside politics; was a senior adviser to former foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy; friends in celebrity circles; Forest Hill cash.
Going against him Knocked as a bad speaker. He's green, in terms of political experience, having first won in a 2009 by-election. Little in the way of caucus support (Scarborough-Pickering East MPP Tracy MacCharles is his lone backer to date).
Behind the scenes Caught observers by surprise when he first ran provincially. Most thought he had his eye on a federal seat after a failed run in 2008. Didn't seize the opportunity to distinguish himself after the Danzig Street shooting when the premier handed him the responsibility to investigate anti-gang strategies.
Odds A dark horse who's hoping to ride the youth vote to a more senior cabinet position and possibly a future shot at the leadership.
Machiavelli weighs in
We asked the most Machiavellian Liberal we know, spinmeister Warren Kinsella, to describe each of the Ontario Liberal leadership contenders in a word, and he agreed! But only if we'd plug his latest book, Fight The Right (Random House). We must also add a disclaimer. Kinsella is backing Sandra Pupatello and really doesn't like Gerard Kennedy, which is why he used four words in his case. Kinsella's take:
Glen Murray "Multiloquent"
Kathleen Wynne "Wise"
Sandra Pupatello "Prizewinner"
Eric Hoskins "Humanitarian"
Charles Sousa "Suavizar"
Gerard Kennedy "Um, hair and teeth"