Sarah Thomson drops out of mayoral race
Sarah Thomson has dropped out of the mayoral race. There was discussion last week that Thomson may pull out and support Rocco Rossi, but she dismissed such talk as "ridiculous" at the time. Nevertheless, with the race in its final month and Thomson's support diminishing rather than increasing, this move only makes sense.
Thomson's campaign was also reported to be in financial trouble. But, at today's press conference, the main reason that Thomson cited for ending her bid was her belief that "our city faces a great peril." In what was an obvious reference to Rob Ford's status as front-runner, she continued by referring to the danger of a politics of "anger and reaction" rather than "mature policy."
After this introduction, she answered the question that was on most people's minds by saying, "I ask you to join me today in supporting George Smitherman for mayor." Thomson continued by discussing Smitherman's strengths, hinting at his superiority over his closest rival.
What this will mean for Smitherman's campaign likely won't be known for at least a week. But, given that Thomson's name will still appear on the ballot, it's basically impossible that the seven per cent support she was showing in the polls will all go to Smitherman on election day. But, it can't really be anything but good news for a campaign that appears in recent days to be narrowing the gap to Rob Ford.
What this does ensure is that we'll have a legitimate and potentially more exciting race on our hands over the next three weeks. What do you think of Thomson's decision? Was it the right move? Will this be enough for Smitherman to beat Ford on October 25?
Update (10:55 a.m.):
The Thomson team has released the full text of her press conference earlier this morning. It is pasted below.
Good Morning, thank you for coming on such short notice.
I am confident my statement today will have a significant bearing on the balance of this campaign, and will also have a positive impact on Toronto's future leadership.
I began my mayoral campaign with a strong desire, to share with the citizens of Toronto, my vision of transformation and change for our great city.
As I have travelled across Toronto and met countless people, I have had the great privilege of hearing their stories and of being a part of their lives. Their stories and hopes helped shape my vision and policies in so many wonderful ways. Thank you Toronto for letting me be your voice.
This campaign is my first experience in major civic politics, and I am proud of what I and my team have achieved.
I am glad that my subway expansion policy has put our citizen's desire for a more comprehensive transit system into the spotlight, and that transit growth has become one of, if not the most, leading issues of this election.
I am encouraged that many of the social challenges that face our most vulnerable citizens are being discussed, and that groups who don't usually have a voice are now being heard through my initiatives on housing, priority neighbourhoods, back to work programs and new private-public partnership services.
Over the past 24 years, I have achieved success in my business career by recognizing opportunity, challenging the status quo and maximizing value in everything that I do.
I have been committed to the improvement of our city, the betterment of our lives, the growth of our economy and infrastructure, and the beautification of our city and environment.
While acknowledging this great opportunity for change and growth, I also realize that our city faces a great peril.
We risk handing over the office of greatest local influence on the basis of anger and reaction - not that of responsible, thought and mature policy.
Today, I am beginning a new opportunity for the city, by ending my campaign for mayor of Toronto.
I remain resolute and determined to continue to deliver positive change to the people of Toronto - and so I ask you to join me today in supporting George Smitherman to be Toronto's next mayor.
I have debated with and against five other candidates for the chance to serve Toronto as your mayor. I have had considerable time to evaluate all of the candidates.
I have watched George Smitherman in action, listened to his experience, and I am inspired by his ideas and his passion for change.
George is a deeply experienced administrator and a consummate Toronto-booster who is committed to getting Toronto moving again, and to embracing diversity and collaboration at City Hall. George will be a mayor who builds on our strengths, and not one who leverages our differences.
I am confident that George's Budget Blueprint will give Torontonians the government they deserve. George is someone who will lead our city with open doors, not closed minds. George understands the big picture for Toronto - and he has the best plans and policy to deliver our best opportunities.
As is very important to me and has been a belief of mine since the inception of my campaign, George has promised to meet his goals without selling Toronto Hydro.
Throughout the campaign, George Smitherman and I have come to share many common hopes and goals for Toronto - and this election is very much about the Toronto - where we all want to live, work, and play - that we will now forge together.
George Smitherman offers the voters a viable and responsible alternative to the message of anger trying to make its way to city hall.
Thank you to all of my supporters, my contributors, my volunteers and entire team. George Tory, John Tory, Kinga Surma, Robert Perry, Stew Berry and Ted Heighington - your advice, support and loyalty means so very much to me, and is a gift and blessing that I will never forget.
To my loving and patient family, thank you for going through this with me. Greg, Noah, and Taylor, I love you very much and could not have done this without you.
Toronto, our best is yet to come! And I hope today's decision get us all one step closer to that reality.
On October 25th, I ask you to join me in voting for George Smitherman to be Toronto's next mayor.
Photo by Trevor Haldenby
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