TORONTO - Randy Hillier is joining caucus colleague Frank Klees on the ballot for the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives.

Klees, who represents Newmarket-Aurora and was third in his 2004 leadership bid, announced his intention to run in an interview with CTV News on Sunday.

Hillier, who holds the eastern Ontario riding of Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington, said today he would also seek the leadership.

In a statement, Hillier says tough times call for a smart leader who rises to challenges, "rather than making excuses and pointing fingers."

Hillier was first elected to the legislature in October 2007 and is currently the party's critic for rural affairs.

Tim Hudak and Christine Elliott are also expected to be on the ballot to replace John Tory as party leader at a June 27 convention in Markham, Ont.

Tory decided to leave politics after dropping a March 5 byelection to his Liberal opponent in the riding of Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock.