Photo courtesy of Joe Mihevc 2010.
In a blow to Joe Pantalone’s campaign, popular councillor Joe Mihevc (Ward 21, St. Paul’s) today endorsed George Smitherman in Toronto’s race for mayor. Though all the mayoral candidates are jockeying for position and endorsements, this one may prove a significant bellwether: Mihevc is staunchly progressive, and is in some ways a more natural fit with the left-leaning Joe Pantalone rather than centrist Smitherman. Pantalone and Mihevc share similar views on a wide variety of issues, and the two have sat on Council together for many years. As Mihevc put it in the letter he sent out a few hours ago, “I do feel that Joe would make a fine mayor and that he has the skills, smarts, and experience to lead the city.”
Unfortunately, Mihevc writes, the threat to Toronto represented by Rob Ford is looming large, and “the stars…have not aligned for Joe as revealed in the polls. Given the strength of Rob Ford in the same polls…I believe that this is a time for Torontonians to rally around a single candidate who has the best chance of defeating Ford.” He—and many other Torontonians, perhaps—have come to the conclusion that this concern about Ford trumps other considerations, and thus is opting to back Smitherman as the most likely candidate to beat Ford.
It’s a struggle, and a tough decision, many other progressive voters will be facing in the coming weeks. Pantalone hasn’t ignited many people’s imaginations, but he is the one clear leading candidate on the left. Those same progressive voters are likely to share Mihevc’s concerns about a Ford victory though, and may well (albeit reluctantly) wind up making the same choice on election day.
The full text of Mihevc’s letter to his constituents:
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