Campaign Chronicle: The Rob, George, and Joe Show
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Campaign Chronicle: The Rob, George, and Joe Show

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.

With the departure of Rocco Rossi from the race Wednesday night, the designated frontrunner field slimmed down to three candidates this week (though uber-diehard supporters can relax in knowing that his name will still be on the ballot). Whether you thought Rossi brought a touch of class to the race or scratched your head at his latest attention-grabbing tactic, his exit from the race will rob it of some of its colour. Be prepared in the next week for more calls to embrace strategic voting, likely for George Smitherman at the expense of Joe Pantalone and the other candidates still hoping to sit in the mayor’s chair. And who knows: perhaps those calls for strategic voting may cause some of us to start looking more seriously at alternative forms of balloting, such as RaBIT, and pressuring the province to implement it in time for our next go-round in 2014.
So, what happened this week?

Follow the Bouncing Poll
At least two polls gained media attention this week. An Ipsos-Reid/CFRB poll released on Wednesday showed Smitherman (31%) and Ford (30%) neck-and-neck, with Pantalone and Rossi bringing up the rear. A Forum Research poll released on Friday post–Rossi exit showed Ford back on top with a six-point lead. Though samples in both cases were small, the key battleground in each poll was the still-sizable contingent of undecided voters, which was in the 16–25% range. With numbers like these, it’s still anybody’s guess what the end result will be.
The Week in Rob Ford Controversies
While his face stared at voters from the cover of Maclean’s, Rob Ford was sued for $6 million by Boardwalk Pub owner George Foulidis after the candidate refused to apologize for suggesting the restaurant owner bribed city officials to gain a vending contract from the city. Tuesday morning found a series of signs erected in the median of University Avenue which declared in stark black and white: “Wife-beating racist drunk for mayor!” The signs, placed by an anonymous person ticked off at the course of the election campaign, were promptly removed.
In an interview with Dandyhorse magazine, Ford noted that bicycle issues had become too political and compared the debates about cycling infrastructure to the battles over abortion.
Now That You’ve Dropped Out of the Race, Where Would Like to Go?
For Rossi, the answer isn’t Disneyland but Spain, where he will spend up to three weeks on a hiking pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
Former Mayors Weigh In
The number of former mayors of Toronto offering their endorsements grew this week when Art Eggleton followed John Sewell’s lead and offered his support to George Smitherman after the candidate’s speech at the Toronto Board of Trade on Friday. We have yet to hear from David Crombie, June Rowlands, or Barbara Hall, but we do know that somebody claiming to be Mel Lastman isn’t a fan of Ford’s.
As far as other endorsements went, Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) sent his regrets to Pantalone and lent his support to Smitherman, while John Parker (Ward 26, Don Valley West) officially backed Ford.
Report Cards
The Toronto Environmental Alliance issued their final grades, which showed a clear split among candidates in their stands on green policies, if only because half of the frontrunners bothered to fill out the survey. Smitherman and Pantalone earned top scores, while the absentee Rossi and Ford flunked for not even pretending to care.
The Secret of Rob Ford’s Success?
According to an article in today’s Globe and Mail, his post-industrial gut. The same article postulates that David Miller was out of touch with Torontonians because of his weight loss. Thoughtful analysis at its best, ladies and gentlemen.
Stay tuned for next week’s chronicle of all the candidates’ capers!
Additional reporting contributed by Hamutal Dotan.
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