In his famously brief style, Mayor Rob Ford spoke with a crush of reporters and camera crews outside his office for just under two minutes on Monday after learning a judge had ordered him out of office.
Councillors looking to replace him were more vocal.
The most obvious contender is deputy mayor Doug Holyday. A fellow fiscal conservative and former mayor of Etobicoke, he said he would be willing to finish Mr. Ford’s term if council chooses to appoint a replacement.
Denzil Minnan-Wong, a fellow conservative who has criticized Mr. Ford, sounded eager for a by-election.
Neither Shelley Carroll and Adam Vaughan, two left-wing councillors with mayoral ambitions, would make their intentions explicit.
Mr. Ford’s genial deputy has the support of much of the mayor’s inner circle and is not thought to harbour long-term mayoral ambitions. This could make him an ideal caretaker for Mr. Ford’s loyalists, keeping his seat warm until he can run again in 2014.
If Mr. Holyday doesn’t put his name forward, the mayor’s older brother and best friend could seek to be a surrogate. The first-term Etobicoke councillor is louder and more outgoing than his brother, and has often been seen as having a key role behind the scenes in the administration.
A member of Mr. Ford’s executive committee he may be, but Mr. Minnan-Wong has typically been more collegial than his boss. A leader of the right-wing opposition during the regime of David Miller, he could emerge as the candidate of conservatives unhappy with Mr. Ford’s acrimonious, lone-wolf attitude.
The man who narrowly lost the mayoralty in 2003 and a moderate conservative, he would mount a credible campaign: he’s well-connected, and has maintained his profile with a current affairs radio show. On his show on Monday, he discussed Mr. Ford’s travails, but refused to comment on his own ambitions.
A rookie centrist councillor recently appointed to the mayor’s executive, Mr. Colle is one of the few people who enjoys support from both factions at City Hall. Like Mr. Holyday, he has never expressed mayoral ambitions, which could be a plus if both sides are seeking someone to hold the fort until 2014.
Mr. Vaughan is one of the few opposition councillors with a city-wide profile – thanks to his previous career as a TV reporter and his knack for jumping out in front of nearly every major issue. While his criticism of Mr. Ford makes him an unlikely interim mayor, he would mount the most credible campaign of any sitting left-wing councillor in a by-election.
A budget chief under mayor David Miller, Ms. Carroll has long harboured mayoral ambitions. Although her profile is lower than Mr. Vaughan’s, she represents a suburban ward, and would be better able to blunt the right’s accusations of downtown elitism.
A poll in the summer suggested the popular NDP member of parliament for west end Trinity-Spadina and former city councillor would easily defeat Mr. Ford in an election. On Monday, NDP spokespeople said she was not available to comment, but a slew of recent press conferences on municipal issues suggest she is preparing for a run.