As Toronto’s mayoral race enters its final, frenzied stages, it becomes nearly impossible to keep track of all the candidates and their antics. Here for you: a handy weekly summary.
Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
After a month of trying out different campaign strategies, the candidates are positioning themselves for the sprint to the finish. This week’s buzzword is “momentum” as the final four amp up their campaigns to attract voters. Smitherman crossed the city this week in his “Smithervan” in an ambitious plan to visit forty-four wards in four days. Also, the candidates went around collecting endorsements like trading cards: Joe Pantalone received a long-anticipated endorsement from David Miller, while Smitherman netted councillors Joe Mihevc (Ward 21, St. Paul’s) and Chin Lee (Ward 41, Scarborough-Rouge River). In trying to maintain his lead, Rob Ford is continuing to robocall voters across the city, while otherwise maintaining a slightly lower (and less gaffe-prone) profile.
The hype hasn’t reflected any significant changes in substance though. A series of promising debates this week didn’t reveal anything new; although we did learn a bit about the candidates’ positions on funding for priority neighbourhoods and on waterfront development. Somehow, everyone got stuck debating parking restrictions, and no one thought to comment on Nuit Blanche.
Mo Money, No Problem
Ford released his second financial plan, with more detail but not a lot of logic. Proving once again that he isn’t good with numbers, Ford forecasted a $1.7 billion surplus over his four-year term without identifying any real sources of savings. (Well, he does recommend scrapping the fair wage policy, though it’s completely unclear how that will net him as much as he thinks.) The surplus certainly isn’t going to come from increased revenue, given the tax cuts promised in Ford’s plan. Hey Rob, third time’s a charm.
Listen to This!
Some strange things have been heard on the campaign trail. A Ford supporter has written a theme song for the campaign, which includes lines like “Rob’s a guy who knows exactly how a broom should be applied.” Rossi’s campaign has a “ringtune,” and Pantalone released three radio ads that have received mixed reviews for their reliance on fear-based messaging. On a somewhat related note, Pantalone’s campaign tried to start up a #MoJoe Twitter movement at the same time musician Joe Diamond leaked his song called “Mo Joe” with the same hashtag. Looks like he’s lost his #MoJoe.
The Odd Couples
Thomson has thrown her full support behind the Smitherman campaign: she voted for Smitherman in the advance polls and is even sharing the Tory brothers. Trouble is, nine months ago she wrote an article on the Women’s Post blog calling Smitherman “corrupt” and a “boondoggle of a career politician.” Now she has to defend the sincerity of her support for Smitherman and contend with sadly salacious coverage of her and Smitherman’s alliance.
Councillor Joe Mihevc, a long-time friend and supporter of Joe Pantalone, sided with Smitherman this week in a highly publicised endorsement. Mihevc was honest about the strategic nature of his choice to support Smitherman, adding his voice to the anything-but-Ford movement. Pantalone, for his part, appeared hurt by the decision, lamenting: “I thought we were friends.”
Meanwhile, Ford paired with the CIBC Run for the Cure in support of his mother. Despite his praise from the Globe for its refusal to rely on money from the province. Rossi seems to have learned his lesson, and has dropped the attention-getting antics. But with only three weeks left, he’s running out of time to position himself as a serious contender.
Rossi is also fighting rumours that he is going to drop out of the race, and went out to vote for himself in the advance polls to prove his staying power.
Stay tuned for next week’s chronicle of all the candidates’ capers!
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