Who might run for mayor of Toronto in a by-election?
With a by-election likely looming for Toronto in the coming months, now is the perfect time for councillors with mayoral ambitions to take a stab at the top job. The only obstacle in their path: convincing enough people to vote their way. For some that means assurances that they are suited to stay as leader of council, for others it means getting recognized as a viable alternative.
Here are some of the contenders who have a chance of running in a by-election and perhaps winning an abridged mayoralty until 2014, assuming Rob Ford is granted a stay but loses a January appeal, which is widely touted as the most likely scenario.
The present incumbent announced on his weekly radio show Sunday he "will be the first one into the race" to try and win his job back via a popular vote. Love him or loathe him, Ford is the man to beat here and you have to like his chances of getting re-elected even with reduced support. Whether or not Ford will make it to the end of said race or fall over trying to throw something is still unknown.
Though not such a well-known name publicly, Carroll is a vociferous anti-Ford voice at City Hall who's had eyes on the mayor's chair for several years. As budget chief under David Miller, the Ward 33 Don Valley East representative was able to draw on her banking background to help shape the city's finances. She implemented the personal vehicle tax in 2007 then voted with Rob Ford to kill it off, saying she had heard from her constituents that they didn't like the idea.
In 2010, when she was also considering running, The Star said Carroll has a "plain-speaking, almost folksy manner and can bandy numbers with any member of the Bay Street crowd." So far Carroll is the only councillor to confirm she'll run if there's a byelection.OLIVIA CHOW
Widely touted as Toronto's saviour, Chow, like her late husband Jack Layton, has oodles of political nous. As a councillor last term she championed sustainable development, tackled homelessness, and, in stark contrast to Rob Ford, rode a floral, brightly colored bicycle to her office at City Hall. Chow was voted best councillor on several occassions by NOW magazine and is considered the strongest candidate to unseat Ford. Anyone would think she was actually running.
A former mayoral nominee in 2003 and leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, John Tory could, as Star columnist Royson James puts it, be a chance "to hit the reset button" button on Ford's divisive politics and put forward a credible, pro-urban conservative candidate.
Tory has the chops, too: he leads CivicAction, a non-partisan group that tackles social and economic issues in Toronto, and has a history of socially liberal policies. In Toronto, Tory also led the Ontario Place revitalization panel that delivered a report recommending the land become a public park. But will he run against Ford?
The former reporter turned Ford basher has made a name for himself outside City Hall for being an outspoken critic of the mayor and his politics. Vaughan has consistently proven he's not afraid to go toe-to-toe with Ford, even if it results in a shouting match. A vote for Vaughan is unlikely for anyone on the fence about the incumbent mayor.
In March, Vaughan wrote a letter of apology to Doug Ford's executive assistant Amin Massoudi after being heard saying "there go the Blackshirts" as the pair were seen entering the mayor's office. Other controversies could make him an easy target during a Ford campaign.GEORGIO MAMMOLITI
What a story it would be: Rob Ford's attack dog barks his way to the top of the pack. Mammoliti, in reality, is actually something of an enigma. A one-time NDP MPP, the veteran councillor was one of 12 party members to break ranks and vote against Bob Rae's Bill 167 that would have extended civil rights to same-sex couples.
Before he was the mayor's right hand man, Mammoliti was a strong critic of Rob Ford and the pair frequently clashed as representatives of neighbouring wards. According to Grid writer David Topping, who has a detailed list of insults traded between the pair, Mammoliti has called Ford an "idiot" and a "goon." Ford has used the pejoratives "snake" and "weasel" in response. Ah, friends.
The Jekyll to Ford's Hyde, Doug Holyday is a generally considered a more palatable fiscal conservative for those on other parts of council's political spectrum. The last mayor of Etobicoke before amalgamation and present deputy under Ford, Holyday has long advocated low spending and prides himself on an excellent attendance record, missing just 1.2 per cent of votes this term.
Holyday recently made headlines for his "little Ginny" comment during a debate on a quota for family-friendly units in new downtown condos. After questioning where downtown kids would play, the deputy mayor said "I could just see now: 'Where's little Ginny?' 'Well, she's downstairs playing in the traffic on her way to the park!'" Holyday hasn't ruled out a run, yet.KAREN STINTZ
The current TTC chair and Ward 16 Eglinton-Lawrence rep famous for her opposition to Ford on One City could, conceivably, have a good run. Possible targets for her opponents would be the OneCity transit plan, pitched out of nowhere with councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, that was pummeled into dust by the province, Metrolinx and city council.
Although she's an outside bet, Wong-Tam has had a strong first stint at council after being elected by a hair in the 2010 Toronto Centre-Rosedale vote. A former Timothy's franchise and art gallery owner, the tireless worker has championed the preservation of heritage buildings in her ward and been a strong voice for LGBTQ community issues. Wong-Tam hasn't clearly signaled she'd like to run at this stage but that hasn't stopped people wishing she would.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. Who do you think the best candidates would be? Is it time the conservative members of council endorsed someone other than a member of the Ford family?
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.