Ford registers for fall election, has 'reasonably good shot' at winning
Published Thursday, January 2, 2014 7:38AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 2, 2014 7:42PM EST
Rob Ford has “a reasonably good shot” at being re-elected later this year, one expert says, as candidates, including the Toronto mayor himself, begin registering for the coming municipal vote.
Ford was first in line at city hall Thursday morning to register as a candidate for the Oct. 27 election, telling reporters his campaign slogan will be simple: Ford More Years.
Despite numerous verbal gaffes, as well as an admission that he had smoked crack cocaine “probably in one of my drunken stupors,” Ford is confident that he’ll win on his economic record.
And at least one political science professor agrees that with the “unshakeable base of support that he’s got” in Ford Nation, the Toronto mayor has “a reasonably good shot at being re-elected.”
“We’ll leave it to Vegas to decide exactly what the odds are at this point but I would say that yes he does have a shot,” Myer Siemiatycki told CTV News.
Ford told the throng of reporters that gathered at city hall on Thursday to watch him hand over his paperwork that he fully expects his opponents to attack him over the scandal that has plagued the last several months of his tenure in Toronto’s top job.
"If they want to get personal, go after my record, that's fine,” Ford said. “Get personal. I know that's going to happen, I'm ready for it.”
His brother, Coun. Doug Ford, will serve as campaign manager and said Thursday he will not run to retain his council seat. The councillor has not ruled out a jump to provincial politics.
"It's very simple, everyone makes mistakes in life,” Doug Ford said. “Rob made a mistake, he's apologized profusely. He's showing you what he's doing to turn it around and he's doing it.”
Although council voted to strip the mayor of most of his powers and transfer them to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, Ford has been front-and-centre of the recent recovery efforts after the ice storm hit the city just before Christmas.
"A hundred per cent I'd vote for him again,” one voter told CTV. "He's getting the job done…and what he does in his personal life is up to him. He's doing what he needs to get done for the city.”
Others, however, said they will be voting for one of his opponents.
“I didn’t vote for him the first time,” another voter told CTV, “and I certainly wouldn’t vote for him now.”
Who will run against Ford?
The list of other names voters will have to choose from is far from set, as candidates have until mid-September to file their nomination papers. NDP MP Olivia Chow, former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader John Tory and councillors Karen Stintz and Denzil Minnan-Wong are all possible challengers to Ford.
“It’s hard to tell whether we should handicap him as the front-runner or as the long-shot from the back of the pack,” Siemiatycki said. “This is going to be one for the history books, both because of just the turmoil that has preceded it and the number of candidates who are going to be thinking they are the person to replace Mayor Ford.”
Siemiatycki says two main factors will influence whether Ford pulls out a victory: how “numerically strong” his base of support is, and whether several candidates jump into the race and end up splitting the anti-Ford vote.
A third issue that could influence the election results is whether Ford is charged in relation to the Toronto Police drug investigations that he has been caught up in.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair confirmed that investigators have recovered a video in which Ford is purportedly seen smoking crack-cocaine. The video has not been released.
If Ford is charged, Siemiatycki says, “that becomes another wild card.”
“He has been very successful among his followers in portraying himself as the victim, that the elites, the media, opposition candidates, everyone else is after him and he’s just the champion of the common person,” Siemiatycki said. “I think the next 10 months are going to test whether that message can resonate with Torontonians or not.”
With a report from CTV’s John Vennavally-Rao