With one Ford absent from Toronto city council, speculation ran rampant at City Hall Tuesday that another might consider running to take his place.
Councillor Doug Ford, the older brother of Mayor Rob Ford – who is currently taking a leave of absence to address his substance abuse – did not close the door when asked by reporters about the possibility of running for mayor.
The councillor was seen sitting in his brother’s usual council seat at various points Tuesday, and when one reporter asked if he’d consider running in his place, he replied “I have no comment.”
Doug Ford had previously announced that he would not be running again as the councillor for Ward 2. He also told reporters earlier this year that he’d put off his plans for a provincial run in favour of working on his brother’s mayoral re-election campaign.
At least one of his council colleagues said he’d support Councillor Ford if he ran. Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, a sometimes ally of the Ford brothers, hand wrote a “Doug Ford” sign in council Tuesday afternoon, which he jokingly affixed atop the mayor’s nameplate.
When approached by reporters afterward, Mr. Mammoliti said “someone has to” run under the Ford banner.
But several other councillors reacted with skepticism.
“No, I would not be voting Doug Ford for mayor,” said Councillor Jaye Robinson, who stepped down from the mayor’s executive committee last year after the mayor refused to seek help for his substance abuse.
“I think we need a mayor with integrity and a mayor who’s going to lead us, and a mayor who can collaborate and work in a collaborative way. I don’t think Doug has that skill set or those attributes.”
Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong – a former ally of the Fords who said he spoke with the mayor Tuesday on the telephone and that he was in “good spirits” – also said he would not support Doug Ford for mayor.
“I don’t believe he has what it takes to be mayor,” he said. “With respect.”