Former mayor John Tory endorses Ana Bailão ahead of Toronto election day

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John Tory endorses Ana Bailão for Toronto mayor
WATCH: In a last ditch effort to pull support away from a surging Olivia Chow, Ana Bailão has been endorsed by former mayor John Tory. The question is, will the man who launched the byelection with his shocking resignation be enough to move voters? Matthew Bingley reports. – Jun 21, 2023

Former Toronto mayor John Tory has officially endorsed Ana Bailão in a last-ditch effort to give the mayoral candidate a boost ahead of election day on Monday.

Global News first reported the planned endorsement on Wednesday morning. Tory confirmed his endorsement in a lengthy statement after 3 p.m.

Sources with direct knowledge of the situation said Tory and the Bailão campaign had been formalizing the endorsement, including the format.

Sources said there was also discussion about whether Tory would participate in campaign events with Bailão, with just days to go before Torontonians cast their ballot.

Tory’s statement, which also touched upon his resignation admitting to an affair with a staff member, said Bailão was “best equipped” to handle Toronto’s top job. He said collaboration and pragmatism were key attributes.

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“Mayors of Toronto can’t pick fights they don’t know how to win,” Tory’s statement said.

“You have to work with other governments, no matter what party they represent. You have to be able to get City Council to work together, no matter what issue is on the table.”

At an unrelated news conference outside Queen’s Park before Tory’s backing was formally confirmed, Bailão said she would “welcome endorsements from everybody” but added that she speaks with Tory frequently.

“I’ve worked with John Tory for years. He was actually one of the people who told me years ago to consider running for mayor,” Bailão said.

Bailão also boasted about her earlier endorsements, which have yet to translate into support in public opinion polls.

“I have endorsements from eight city councillors, from 11 members of Parliament, from six unions, from business from two former mayors and from the Toronto Star,” Bailão said.

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Tory’s stamp of approval, however, could be seen as a motivator for voters to switch sides, especially considering that 62 per cent of Toronto voters backed Tory in the October 2022 mayoral election.

Despite the endorsements, however, Bailão has failed to top public opinion polls.

A recent Ipsos poll, for Global News and the Toronto Star, found that Bailão had 12 per cent support well behind front-runner Olivia Chow.

Campaign insiders, however, described a Tory endorsement as a “hail mary pass” ahead of the election.

Other sources told Global News Tory had been considering an endorsement for weeks but was advised by those close to him to stay out of the race, citing the lacklustre support for Bailão and the lack of runway for an endorsement to have a meaningful impact.

“Ana is a leader — she’s not afraid to make tough decisions,” Tory said in his endorsement.

“She’s not afraid to stand in there when the going gets tough and she knows how to bring out the best in people. I couldn’t have asked for a better colleague in my time at City Hall.”

— with files Global News’ Isaac Callan

There are several high-profile candidates running in the mayoral byelection.

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