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Wanted, Progressive Mayoral Candidates for 2010

25Sep09_mayoralprospects.jpg
Adam Vaughan photo by fermata.daily from the Torontoist Flickr Pool; Glen Murray photo courtesy of the City of Winnipeg; Shelley Carroll and Adam Giambrone photos via Facebook.


Politics stops for no man, and no retirement.
Hot on the heels of David Miller’s announcement that he will not seek a third term in office—before he had even left the room, in fact—began the speculation about who would campaign to replace him. George Smitherman and John Tory have been the most frequently mentioned candidates from outside City Hall, with Karen Stintz seeming the most likely contender among the right-wing city councillors. [Publisher's note: One key member of Karen Stintz's mayoral campaign exploratory committee is Rob Silver, who is also a co-owner of Ink Truck Media, Torontoist's publishers.] With Miller’s withdrawal from the race comes a new vacuum, for a candidate from the progressive end of the political spectrum.
It’s far too soon to know who the leading candidates might be, but among the names we’ve been hearing mentioned most often are:

Shelley Carroll

Councillor for Ward 33 (Don Valley East) and budget chief under Miller during his second term, Carroll has a reputation for pragmatism which will serve her in good stead in appealing to centrist voters. PROS: experienced, level-headed, represents a non-downtown ward (broadening her appeal further). CONS: too closely tied to Miller, may split the centrist vote with George Smitherman if he runs and leave an opportunity for a right-wing candidate to make more headway.

Adam Vaughan

Councillor for Ward 20 (Trinity-Spadina), Vaughan is often chided for being too stridently ideological by his detractors, but is loved by many for staking out progressive territory without apology. PROS: Vaughan may galvanize many on the left who felt abandoned by Miller’s reluctance to follow through on some more aggressive policy initiative. CONS: Vaughan’s too outspoken and too far to the left to have broad appeal at the moment. Our prediction: he’ll sit this race out, being a relative newcomer to Council, and will consider a bid in two election cycles or so.

Adam Giambrone

Councillor for Ward 18 (Davenport) and TTC Chair, Giambrone was swarmed by members of the press the moment Miller finished speaking. He’s got broad name-recognition due to his work with the TTC and chatter about his startling youth follows him wherever he goes. PROS: well-known, with an established contingent of loyalists who will sweat blood on campaign work if he runs. CONS: viewed as too young and, like Carroll, too close to Miller. We’re hearing that he is seriously considering a bid, but he has a long career ahead of him and may decide to wait depending on reaction over the coming weeks.

Glen Murray

The outside dark-horse candidate, coming not just from outside City Hall but outside the city. Murray is the former mayor of Winnipeg (1998–2004) and has the sexiest track record of any of the progressive potentials, but little profile in the city. He was known as a consensus-builder while in office, and is rumoured to already be putting together a campaign team. PROS: heavy-hitting executive experience, his track record in office, established connections with other mayors across Canada to help with pushing urban issues at other levels of government. CONS: Murray has only lived in Toronto for a few years, and may not have deep enough roots in the community to make much headway.

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