Torontonians should reject calls for strategic voting to stop Rob Ford, Mayor David Miller suggested as he formally endorsed his deputy Joe Pantalone Wednesday.
"I think people want to vote for something and you don't vote for somebody because you think they're awful, just because they're slightly less awful than somebody else," Mr. Miller said.
The outgoing mayor's endorsement came a day after a veteran councillor and ally of Mr. Pantalone's defected to George Smitherman because polls show the former deputy premier has the best shot of defeating Mr. Ford.
But Mr. Miller said that with the exception of Mr. Pantalone, none of the other contenders is any better than Mr. Ford, the penny-pinching Etobicoke councillor with whom he tussled for years.
"I don't distinguish between all the candidates who want to tear down Toronto," Mr. Miller said. "They're essentially running on the same platform."
That's part of the reason he waded into the race after months of vowing to stay out of it, Mr. Miller said, adding he is "appalled" at the quality of debate so far.
As for Joe Mihevc, the Ward 21 St. Paul's councillor who called for strategic voting in a mass e-mail Tuesday, Mr. Miller said Mr. Mihevc doesn't always make the right call.
"It's funny, seven years ago Councillor Mihevc suggested that I should drop out of the race. He was wrong then."
Praising Mr. Pantalone as a "city builder," Mr. Miller stressed that his deputy mayor is the only candidate who supports the Transit City light-rail plan, investments in low-income neighbourhoods and green initiatives.
He said he already cast a ballot for Mr. Pantalone in the advance polls. The mayor also put to rest rumours he would accept an international post after leaving office Nov. 30.
He said he has no intention of moving his family out of Toronto.