John Tory, the politician-turned-talk-radio host who came up short in the Toronto mayoral race 10 years ago, is considering another run.
Mr. Tory, a former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader, said in an interview Tuesday that fans and political veterans alike have urged him to run in next year’s campaign and he’s at least thinking about it, though he stressed no decision has been made.
“There’s no committees, there’s no polls, no this, no that. I haven’t even had the serious discussion with my wife that one has to have before you embark on this kind of adventure,” he said.
But Mr. Tory, who made an appearance at City Hall Monday for the raising of the Pride flag, said he gets e-mails and calls or stopped on the street every day by people who want him to seek the mayoralty.
“It’s been sort of widespread enough that I don’t want to just say to them, ‘Look, I’m not even going to think about it,’ ” he said.
A run for mayor in 2014 by Mr. Tory has long been rumoured. A Forum Research poll released in January said he, Member of Parliament Olivia Chow and Toronto Transit Commission chair Councillor Karen Stintz could all beat Mayor Rob Ford in a head-to-head contest.
However, another Forum poll released last month said Mr. Tory would lose in a three-way race with Mr. Ford and Ms. Chow. The poll said Mr. Tory would receive 24 per cent of the vote, Mr. Ford 27 per cent and Ms. Chow 42 per cent.
Mr. Ford has said he intends to seek re-election and will register the first day he can, in early January.
Mr. Tory said it’s far too early to make a decision, and his choice could ultimately be impacted by who else is running.
Councillor Doug Ford, the mayor’s brother who has said he’ll work on the re-election campaign, on Tuesday wished Mr. Tory luck if he decides to run.
“John’s always interested in running for mayor,” he said. “I tell everyone in this city, everyone who is interested, bring it on. I don’t care who it is.”
Myer Siemiatycki, a professor of politics at Ryerson University, said Mr. Tory would be a credible, compelling candidate and would have a legitimate chance to win.
“He would position himself as a centrist and he would, I think, take votes both from Mayor Ford to the right of him and were a candidate more to the left of him be running, say Olivia Chow or Adam Vaughan, he could very well siphon off some of their support as well,” he said in an interview.
Mr. Siemiatycki said Mr. Tory ran a strong campaign in 2003 and has demonstrated he can generate public support. He finished about 36,000 votes behind David Miller, who had just under 300,000 votes in all. He said Mr. Tory would likely position himself as a safe candidate for voters who might have concerns about some of the other names on the ballot.
The mayor has been embroiled in scandal for much of this year. He was nearly ousted from office in a conflict-of-interest case before an appeals court overturned the decision in January.
In mid-May, allegations arose that Mr. Ford was caught on video smoking crack cocaine. He has said he does not use the drug and is not an addict, but has refused to answer further questions about the matter.
With a report from Elizabeth Church