Toronto's most sought-after campaign manager has decided to work for Joe Pantalone, meaning it's unlikely another prominent left-winger will emerge to challenge the deputy mayor.
John Laschinger, the architect of David Miller's successful mayoral bids, confirmed yesterdayhe will chair Mr. Pantalone's campaign.
"If you look at the choices, Joe fits my vision of what a mayor should be," Mr. Laschinger said. "He's not talking about cutting services or rationalizing services, he's not talking about selling assets. ... He's talking about making [the city]better."
Mr. Laschinger said he was approached by every major candidate to pilot their bids. In search of a candidate who would carry on Mr. Miller's legacy, he initially backed TTC chairman Adam Giambrone, whose campaign collapsed under the weight of the candidate's infidelity.
Mr. Laschinger said about half a dozen people from the Miller team, including some who signed on to Mr. Giambrone's short-lived effort, have pledged their support to Mr. Pantalone too.
Mr. Pantalone, who has represented Trinity-Spadina for 30 years, said Mr. Laschinger's move is part of a "clear trend" of centre-left support coalescing around his candidacy.
"There's people from the cultural industries, there's people from the labour movement, there's people who previously supported Adam Giambrone," he said. "They figure that with my experience and given my belief in a progressive city, that I'm the candidate to support."
Mr. Pantalone has run a quiet campaign so far, pledging to guard the Miller legacy against his competitors, most of whom argue the city needs to take a right turn and rethink how it does business.
After Mr. Giambrone's campaign imploded, leaders from the city's labour movement and the NDP - which can't run candidates in Toronto elections but exerts considerable power nonetheless - began searching for a high-wattage replacement. Budget chief Shelley Carroll couldn't be swayed to enter, nor could any of the longer-shot prospects.