Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will likely see at least two people vying to take over his job at city hall in next year’s municipal election, after city councillor Karen Stintz confirmed this weekend that she will run for mayor next year.
"I’ve been working hard for the people of the city and I want to work hard for them for the next four years in the capacity of mayor and I want to make sure we continue to move our city forward," Stintz said Sunday, when explaining her motivation for seeking the job.
The Ward 16 Eglinton-Lawrence councillor says that she is assembling a campaign team and believes she would be a good alternative to Ford, who has already stated his intention to seek a second term.
"I know that we’ll be able to build a strong platform, a strong team that will allow people to have choice in the 2014 election and that what it’s about," Stintz said.
The field of expected contenders now includes Stintz, the mayor and David Soknacki, a former councillor who has also said he will mount a mayoral campaign.
Coun. Josh Matlow predicted via Twitter on Sunday they won’t be the only people to enter the mayoral race next year:
Confirmed 2014 mayoral candidates so far are Rob Ford, David Soknacki & Karen Stintz. Rumored are Olivia Chow & John Tory. There'll be more.— Josh Matlow (@JoshMatlow) October 27, 2013
On his weekly radio show, Ford said he was eagerly awaiting the chance to run for mayor again.
"I’m just drooling, I’m absolutely salivating for this next election," he told Newstalk 1010 listeners on Sunday afternoon.
Start date in January
The official start of the 2014 mayoral campaign is Jan. 2, which is the first day that candidates are able to officially sign up.
Stintz has been a city councillor for 10 years and has served as the TTC chair during Ford's term as mayor.
The news that Stintz will seek the top job at city hall came as no surprise to Coun. Doug Ford, the mayor’s brother.
"Well, I think she announced a year ago," Ford said.
The next election will take place in exactly one year.
Olivia Chow, the MP for Trinity-Spadina, was asked Sunday about the news.
Chow wished Stintz the "best of luck" in her campaign, but would not say whether she would pursue a mayoral bid herself.
Myer Siemiatycki, a professor of politics at Toronto’s Ryerson University, predicted that next year’s mayoral race will be closely watched in other parts of Canada.
"I think the rest of the country will be curious to see who is Toronto going to elect and vote for," Siemiatycki told The Canadian Press in an interview.
"It may also be something of a test of how unorthodox can you be as a political leader and still get re-elected," he said.
Ford, 44, was elected as the mayor of Toronto in the fall of 2010. He previously served as a city councillor in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke.
The mayor has often made headlines both for his work at city hall and for his life outside of it.
Since being elected mayor, Ford faced both a removal challenge that nearly forced him from office, as well as a defamation lawsuit. In both cases, he prevailed in court — winning an appeal on a judge’s removal order and seeing the defamation lawsuit dismissed.
This year, reports emerged that someone had been shopping a video that allegedly showed the mayor using crack cocaine. Ford has denied both using crack cocaine and the video’s existence.