Rossi drops out of Toronto mayoral race
Toronto mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi has dropped out of the race for the city's top job hours after the release of a poll that suggested support for his campaign is waning.
Speaking at his campaign headquarters on Avenue Road Wednesday night, Rossi conceded the mayoralty has become a two-person race featuring Rob Ford and George Smitherman.
"In essence, the choice for mayor is coming down to those who want to stop what Mr. Ford describes as the gravy train and those who want to stop Mr. Ford," he said.
"My vision for Toronto was never about stopping anything. It was about building, about changing, about expanding, about improving. Under the current scenario, it has become clear that my message is not what the majority of Torontonians want to focus their attention on."
The move came hours after an Ipsos Reid poll found he only had the support of four per cent of respondents.
Rossi's name will remain on the ballot for the Oct. 25 vote. The last day for withdrawing candidate nominations was Sept. 9.
Rossi, the former director of the federal Liberal Party, said he is not endorsing any of the other mayoral candidates, and that he has already voted for himself in advance polling.
"I don't want to distract from Torontonians taking a very close look at the frontrunners, asking the tough questions and demanding tough solutions for Toronto -- not necessarily what we want to hear, but what we need to hear from them," he said.
The poll released earlier Wednesday showed that Smitherman has the support of 31 per cent of respondents, while Ford is at 30 per cent. Joe Pantalone garnered 11 per cent.
The poll, conducted between Oct. 8 and Oct. 11, surveyed 400 adults in Toronto. It has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.