Prospective candidates ‘seriously consider’ run in Toronto mayoral byelection

Click to play video: 'Prospective candidates mull over Toronto mayoral race'
Prospective candidates mull over Toronto mayoral race
WATCH ABOVE: Prospective candidates continue to consider a run in Toronto’s upcoming by-election to replace John Tory. Erica Vella takes a look at who is committing to running and who is stilling mulling it over. – Feb 28, 2023

City council hasn’t had the chance to declare the mayor’s office vacant yet, but already there are hints from potential candidates interested in running for the job.

Coun. Brad Bradford said he is considering running for mayor and has unveiled an advisory committee that is helping him make that decision.

“I am certainly considering it,” he said.

“The advisory committee represents a broad perspective from folks of all corners of this city; different backgrounds and different political views.”

Notable names on Bradford’s advisory committee include former city councillor and TTC chair Karen Stintz, veteran Liberal strategist Bob Lopinski and Kory Teneycke, who worked as the director of communications under former prime minister Stephen Harper. He was also the campaign manager for Premier Doug Ford.

Former city councillor Ana Bailao said Tuesday that she is also “seriously considering” a run for mayor. She stopped short of making it official, but described possible ideas she would tackle as mayor.

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“What about Wi-Fi on the TTC? Can we think about common-sense solutions and make sure that these issues are addressed? … It is something I would like to see as a citizen, as a TTC user and absolutely if I run for mayor.”

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John Wright, executive vice-president of Maru Public Opinion, said both possible candidates are backed by teams with expertise in running in these kinds of elections.

“They are really experienced operators and they know an awful lot about who is out there and who could aid them in the fight to become mayor,” he said.

“We are starting to see the genesis of two significant camps with good organizers and now people will be starting to look at the other camps as well.”

Both Bradford and Bailao have yet to confirm if they are running, but on Tuesday Rob Davis, former city councillor, announced he will definitely put his hat in the ring.

“I’ll be the first person in line on April 3, Monday morning, putting in my nomination papers,” Davis said.

“I know a lot of people are mulling it over, so firstly, I am decisive.”

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In the coming weeks, Wright said we will likely see more hints from prospective candidates.

“Oftentimes in mayoralty politics who have a coalition of the libs and conservatives versus the left of council, which is in the NDP and others. We are already starting to see one side of that equation develop and the other side not so much yet,” he said.

Last week, Toronto the city clerk announced that a byelection to elect a new mayor would happen June 26, setting out a timeline for the race to replace John Tory.

City clerk John D. Elvidge said the June date for the mayoral byelection is subject to council officially declaring the mayor’s office vacant and passing a bylaw requiring a byelection when it meets on March 29.

That would result in nominations for the race opening April 3 and closing May 12, with advance voting available from June 8 to 13.

“This is the first time that Torontonians are going to take a hard-look stare at just the mayor and that will be fascinating vote turnout and issue debate that we have never seen before,” said Wright.

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— with Files from The Canadian Press.

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