Mayor ends his re-election bid but his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, has replaced him in a move that turns the campaign on its head. The unprecedented Rob Ford era ended Friday as dramatically as it unfolded: Ford, the mayor whose scandals roiled city hall and captured global attention, withdrew from the mayoral election because of his abdominal tumour — and asked Toronto to vote for his brother, Councillor Doug Ford who scrambled to register as a candidate just minutes before the deadline.
The mayor signed up to run for his old Ward 2 council seat in the riding of Etobicoke North, taking the place of his nephew, Michael Ford, who withdrew from that race to run for school trustee.
“Nobody has ever seen anything like this before,” said former mayor Mel Lastman, summarizing the reaction of residents and insiders alike. “It's nuts.”
Rob Ford's departure from the Oct. 27 mayoral election significantly changes a campaign that unsuccessful candidate David Soknacki this week described as a “referendum on Rob Ford.” If that is true, the ballot question is no longer on the ballot — though he has been replaced by a politician who may be even more polarizing and outspoken.
Doug Ford was sombre and emotional in his first speech as a candidate. Standing in front of his mother's Etobicoke house, his daughters, wife and mother behind him, he positioned himself as the inheritor of his ailing brother's legacy.
“He told me that he needed me to take the torch while he focuses on getting better,” Doug Ford said. “He told me that he couldn't bear the thought of city hall returning to the old days at the expense of the good, honest, everyday people.”