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February 25, 2010: Mayoral candidate Giorgio Mammoliti delivers a speech to kick off his campaign. Dave Chan for Globe and Mail. (DAVE CHAN/DAVE CHAN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
February 25, 2010: Mayoral candidate Giorgio Mammoliti delivers a speech to kick off his campaign. Dave Chan for Globe and Mail. (DAVE CHAN/DAVE CHAN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Mammoliti drops out of Toronto mayoral race Add to ...

He didn't endorse any other candidates, but he did promise never to take his shirt off in council chambers again.

On Monday, city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti announced he was dropping his bid to become Toronto's next mayor - but vowed to win his York West seat on Oct. 25 as a "changed" politician. "This candidate needs to be a little more serious, in life and in politics," Mr. Mammoliti told a crammed news conference near Islington and Steeles Avenues in his Ward 7 riding.

Mr. Mammoliti said he failed to meet his half-million dollar fundraising goal by the end of June, but that the motivating issue behind his decision to leave the electoral race "was one of reality," after voters appeared unimpressed with his "outside-the-box" platform. In a Pollstra Research poll sponsored by his own campaign released Monday, he trailed in last place with 5.2 per cent support behind the five other top contenders.

"Perhaps the city isn't ready for a mayor like me," he said. Among Mr. Mammoliti's campaign promises were a floating casino in Lake Ontario, arming Toronto by-law officers, shutting down part of the Gardiner Expressway to allow for garden and bike traffic, and creating red-light districts. On the eve of the highly fraught G8/G20 summits, he sent a glowing press release to media trumpeting his successful push for China to lend two pandas to the city.

To protest the nude beach at Hanlan's point, Mr. Mammoliti once stripped off his top in council chambers. "Taking off my shirt and doing the things I've had fun doing in politics, those kinds of stunts have to finish. I'm recognizing that today, and moving forward in a more serious way," he said Monday.

Mayoral hopefuls Rocco Rossi and Joe Pantalone attended Monday's announcement, hoping to gain some of Mr. Mammoliti's voter base, as did Doug Ford, brother of poll front-runner Rob Ford. George Smitherman sent out a statement thanking Mr. Mammoliti for his "spirited campaign" and saying he hoped to work with him in the future.

Mr. Mammoliti said he wouldn't endorse any other candidates until he returns from a two-and-a-half week vacation, but the other candidates expressed hope that his largely immigrant, working class supporters from the suburbs would join their camps.

"I am optimistic," Mr. Pantalone said. "The constituency he represents is very much my constituency...these are my people as well as his people."

"We'd love his endorsement," Doug Ford said. Rather than choose sides immediately, however, Mr. Mammoliti introduced a largely unknown candidate, 31 year old, Ghana-born Rocco Achampong, saying the Osgoode Hall Law School graduate deserved a place in the debates.

Mr. Mammoliti said he had a good relationship with the other candidates - "even Rob Ford" - and would work productively with them if elected. He told the crowd this wouldn't be the end of his push to lead Canada's largest metropolis. "That's a promise I'm making to the city -- I will be running for mayor at one point or another."

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