“I’ve got the strongest track record. I’ve been the best mayor that this city’s ever had. My record speaks for itself,” Rob Ford said to City Hall reporters today after he registered for the 2014 mayoral election. Ford arrived before the clerk’s office opened, making very clear that he is serious in his bid for re-election.
When asked about his past crack-smoking incident and his association with criminals, Ford said these questions were “diverting things.” His strategy, Toronto Star reports, is to focus on his fiscal record and dismiss the topic of his questionable behavior.
Ford showed up before 8:30 a.m., the time that the election office of City Hall opened. He made good on his promise to be the first big mayoral candidate to sign up. The nominations will close on September 12, 2014. Rob Ford named his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, as his campaign manager.
“Rob Ford is the only politician that I can remember that’s done what he’s said he’s going to do. That’s a rarity in politics and we’re going to keep moving the city forward,” Doug Ford told reporters today. He will not be running for re-election as city councilor.
Mayor Ford maintains that he is devoted to watching “every dime that’s being spent” in City Hall. Several of the claims he made were untrue, Globe & Mail and National Post report, including statistics relating to his attendance in council meetings, and the changes in property tax and the unemployment rate. Ford said that he saved the city “a billion dollars,” but this has been shown to be a dubious overestimate.
The municipal election is set for October 27. Olivia Chow of the New Democratic Party and former Ontario Progressive are both expected to challenge the “best Toronto Mayor ever.” Already joining the race are Councilor David Soknacki and Councilor Denzil Minnan-Wong. The campaign trail is likely to have more than 100 debates, but Ford says he is ready for 200. As always, he draws upon the strength of his “Ford Nation,” his core group of supporters.
In 2013, a video surfaced of the mayor allegedly smoking crack cocaine. Throughout the year, Ford became an object of global ridicule by his use of the drug, his propensity for going to public events intoxicated, and for being secretly filmed during a maniacal profanity-laden rant in which he threatened to kill someone unknown. He is often embroiled in vicious shouting matches with the press and rival politicians. He has made numerous public apologies for his behavior. Rob Ford has been stripped of much of his powers as mayor, with Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly filling in.
A December 18, 2013 poll conducted by Ipsos-Reid shows that 37 percent of Toronto voters would consider casting a vote for Rob Ford. While substantial, one would expect higher poll numbers for the best Toronto mayor ever. One would also hope that Toronto’s best ever mayor would not smoke crack. In order for Ford to get re-elected, voters are going to have to look past his personal problems.
By K. Elsner