Sarah Thomson quits race for mayor, will seek council seat

Sarah Thomson has dropped out of the race to become Toronto's next mayor and opted instead to run for council in Ward 20.

Joins crowded race for council seat in Ward 20 (Trinity-Spadina)

Sarah Thomson at the city clerk's office Tuesday, where she officially dropped out of the mayor's race and will instead seek a council seat in Ward 20. (Steven D'Souza/CBC)

Sarah Thomson has dropped out of the race to become Toronto's next mayor, and has opted instead to seek a council seat in Ward 20.

In explaining her decision, Thomson said internal polling showed incumbent Mayor Rob Ford and former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader John Tory running neck and neck so she opted to drop out as a way to stop Ford.

Last week Thomson asked voters to participate in a poll on her website about whether or not she should continue as a mayoralty candidate or run instead for a council seat.

Thomson will add to an already crowded field of candidates in the downtown ward. Including Thomson, a total of 28 candidates have registered. The ward was vacated when Adam Vaughan stepped aside in May and then won a federal byelection in June. A Liberal, Vaughan defeated NDP candidate Joe Cressy, who is also seeking the council seat in Ward 20.  

Thomson previously ran for mayor in 2010, but eventually dropped out and threw her support to George Smitherman, the former Ontario cabinet minister who placed second in the race behind Ford.

This time around, dozens of people are running for mayor, including both Ford and Thomson. The election is on Oct. 27.

The current mayoral race has already seen one high-profile candidate drop out. Coun. Karen Stintz announced in August that she would end her bid to become the city’s next mayor and also that she would not be running for council again.

Thomson says she will call on either Tory or Chow — whoever is trailing in the polls — to drop out of the race as the election draws near to defeat the incumbent.

Ford was asked Tuesday for his reaction to Thomson's push to trim the field of contenders.

"That's all right. That's her opinion, that's what democracy is all about," he said. "I understand she's running for council and I wish her all the best."

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