Toronto Coun. Doug Ford says he will stick by his brother’s side in the months ahead, rather than run again for a council seat or pursue any attempt to become a member of the provincial legislature.
Mayor Rob Ford’s brother held a brief news conference Thursday morning to announce he will not be running in the next provincial election, which could come as early as this spring.
"Folks, my priority is obviously, my family first, the people of Etobicoke North, the city of Toronto and obviously, my brother, Rob," he told reporters on Thursday morning.
To that end, Coun. Ford confirmed he will be running the campaign to re-elect his brother, though he will not seek re-election himself as a councillor in his Etobicoke ward.
The single-term councillor hinted that he might still be hanging around Toronto City Hall, even if he is not an elected member.
"I wouldn’t rule out coming down here. I’ll work for $1 a year to make sure Rob, again, moves forward, make sure this is the most prosperous city in the world," he said.
Ford admitted that he has aspirations to seek a seat in the provincial legislature, just as his father did nearly two decades ago.
"I'll tell you I will eventually, one day, run provincially,” he said. “I love provincial politics."
Ford had previously talked about a desire to take a run at a provincial seat for the Progressive Conservatives, though he has never been an official candidate.
Ford's leaving 'a loss' for council
Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti said that Ford’s decision to leave will be "a loss" for council.
"He does stand up and he brings up some really important matters and he'll be missed down here," Mammoliti said.
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said that Ford’s decision not to run again was for him to make.
Kelly said it appeared the mayor and his brother "are obviously in a campaign mode" and they would together have to decide the electoral strategy they want to pursue.
Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, who has yet to decide if he will pursue a mayoral bid himself, said that others should "respect" the decision Ford made to shift his focus to his brother’s campaign.
Asked to describe Ford’s legacy at city hall, Minnan-Wong said the councillor "certainly wasn’t shy in terms of letting people know what he thought and he tried his best to help out his brother — sometimes he was successful, other times not so much."
Rob Ford confident about re-election
When PC Leader Tim Hudak was recently asked about whether he would approve nomination papers for Ford, he told reporters that he wouldn’t talk about potential candidates.
Other Tories said little when asked about Ford's announcement on Thursday.
"I'm not going to comment about people who aren't candidates for our party," Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod told reporters at Queen’s Park.
Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli said the PCs are "happy for Doug," though he said the party is focused on matters of interest to Ontarians.
Last year, the PCs recruited a member of Toronto city council to run in a byelection. That contest saw Doug Holyday, the city’s former deputy mayor, win the open seat for the Tories in Etobicoke.
The mayor said Thursday that he fully supported his brother’s decision and was thankful for his friendship and loyalty.
"There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re going to get re-elected," he said.
As of late Thursday morning, just two candidates had registered to run for the councillor position in Ward 2 Etobicoke North, according to information posted on the city's website. Coun. Ford did not file papers prior to making his announcement.
So far, Ford is facing more than 20 other people who have registered to run for mayor. That group includes two former city councillors, David Soknacki and Norm Gardner.
Coun. Karen Stintz is expected to file papers for a mayoral run in the near future, now that Maria Augimeri has been named as her replacement as chair of the Toronto Transit Commission.
I've got his back Doug Ford says of the Mayor ahead of coming municipal campaign. pic.twitter.com/da8jzLpNn3— Jamie Strashin (@StrashinCBC) February 20, 2014