Toronto Mayor Rob Ford drops re-election bid

2014-09-13 10:27
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reads a statement to the media at City Hall in Toronto. (The Canadian Press, Chris Young, AP, file)

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reads a statement to the media at City Hall in Toronto. (The Canadian Press, Chris Young, AP, file)

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Toronto - Ailing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's dramatic decision to drop his re-election bid opened a new chapter in the saga, as his tough-talking but less magnetic brother runs in his place and brings his own storied past into the scandal-laden campaign.

Analysts say this latest chapter may be short-lived, with Doug Ford's candidacy unlikely to change the outcome of the mayoral election. Rob Ford had been expected to lose after a string of revelations involving crack-smoking, public drunkenness and outrageous behaviour.

Both Ford brothers have been prominent in Toronto politics over the past four years but Doug Ford, now a city councillor, has mostly played the role of fiery defender of his younger brother, taking on Toronto's police chief and even author Margaret Atwood as the controversies multiplied.

Rob Ford, 45, announced his decision to drop out of the race on Friday, two days after he was hospitalised for abdominal pain and the tumour was discovered. Biopsy results won't be back for a week and a definitive diagnosis is pending.

"I stand here with mixed emotions and a very heavy heart. First and foremost I am concerned about my brother," said Doug Ford, who was surrounded by family members outside the Ford family home hours after registering his candidacy. He will face two other major contenders on 27 October.

International spotlight

But Toronto won't see the last of Rob Ford anytime soon: He has opted to seek a City Council seat representing a district in his home suburb of Etobicoke, where his brash everyman style and conservative fiscal policies first gained a faithful following that became known as Ford Nation. A nephew dropped his bid for the seat to make way for Ford.

The international spotlight first fell on Rob Ford in May 2013, when Toronto Star and the US website Gawker reported the existence of a video apparently showing the mayor inhaling from a crack pipe. He denied the existence of the video for months but finally admitted to using crack after police announced they had obtained it.

Toronto's City Council stripped Ford of most of his mayoral powers but he refused to resign. When reports emerged this year of a second video showing him apparently smoking crack, Ford entered rehab for two months and returned to work in June.

Read more on:    rob ford  |  canada

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