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John Tory addresses the media at Toronto city hall on Feb. 17. His scandal-plagued departure has kicked off a new race.Chris Young/The Canadian Press

A crop of potential candidates to replace Toronto’s mayor are already assembling campaign teams and trying out messages to attract voters, as John Tory officially left his post at City Hall after admitting he had an affair with a subordinate.

In his final public act as mayor, Mr. Tory made a short statement to the media late Friday afternoon alongside Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie, who will stand in as city leader until a by-election can be held.

Mr. Tory said he hoped he would be remembered for more than the circumstances of his departure, listed some of his accomplishments and left the podium without answering questions. Less than 20 minutes later, his term as mayor officially ended.

The departure sets the stage for a new months-long political drama in advance of a voting day expected between mid-June and mid-July. Several familiar faces from the city council chamber are already mobilizing for potential bids.

Among them are: former deputy mayor Ana Bailao, who did not run for her seat on council last year; Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford, a key ally of the departing mayor; and Josh Matlow, a midtown councillor and outspoken critic of Mr. Tory.

Former Toronto Police chief Mark Saunders, who unsuccessfully sought a provincial seat last year under Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative banner, is also speaking to potential supporters as he considers a run. “For the time being, Mark is focused on building the team he would need to win the campaign if he runs,” said Mitch Wexler, a data analyst and veteran political consultant who ran Mr. Saunders’s provincial campaign.

Ms. Bailao, a Liberal who was Mr. Tory’s point-person on affordable housing, said in a text message on Friday she was “seriously, seriously considering” a run for mayor.

However, she is already assembling her team. Her campaign includes Liberal strategist Tom Allison, once a senior aide to former premier Kathleen Wynne, as campaign manager, and Conservative strategist Nick Kouvalis, a pollster and political adviser to Mr. Ford who was the maverick architect of his brother Rob Ford’s mayoral victory in 2010. Both have also served Mr. Tory in the past.

“Tom and I worked together very closely to have John Tory elected in the first campaign, 2014, against a tough competition – Doug Ford on one side and Olivia Chow on the other side,” Mr. Kouvalis told The Globe. “So we’re working together again.”

A councillor for the central Toronto’s Davenport area, she worked closely with Mr. Tory, an ex-PC leader, but was also respected by council’s NDP wing. During her tenure, she championed the building of more affordable housing and the city’s move to allow laneway housing.

Her website lauds her as a “City Builder, Housing Leader and Social Innovator.” Just last month, she announced she had taken a job with real estate giant Dream Unlimited as its head of affordable housing and public affairs.

Mr. Bradford, a former city planner who won his council seat in 2018 over a higher-profile NDP rival with the help of Mr. Tory’s endorsement, told The Globe he had not yet made up his mind whether to run for mayor. However, prominent strategists are also already lining up behind his potential bid.

Ford campaign boss Kory Teneycke and communications and advertising executive Dennis Matthews say they are among those backing Mr. Bradford.

A source close to Mr. Bradford said a group of supporters looking to advise him includes Jeff Ballingall, the founder of conservative social media network Canada Proud and president of digital strategy firm Mobilize Media Group. The Globe is not identifying the source because they were not authorized to speak for the candidate.

Mr. Bradford said he has spoken with Mr. Ballingall but is also talking to a wide range of people, including many Liberals, about his potential bid.

“It’s a big group of people. There’s neighbourhood people, business leaders,” he said.

Liberal strategist Brian Teefy confirmed he would be helping Mr. Bradford, as he has in past campaigns. (Mr. Bradford’s mother is Valerie Bradford, the Liberal MP for Kitchener South-Hespeler in Ontario.)

Mr. Matlow said he was discussing the idea of a mayoral run with his family and that he had made “no final decision.” The long-time councillor in the city’s affluent midtown area, who is a Liberal, said it was dismaying that two of his potential rivals, Ms. Bailao and Mr. Bradford, had signed up with political advisers so strongly linked to Mr. Ford.

“We can’t allow for political opportunists who are going to be backed by special interests and Ford government operatives to take over City Hall,” he said in an interview on Friday.

Ivana Yelich, a spokeswoman for Mr. Ford, said the Premier will not be taking sides in the election. However, Mr. Ford warned reporters this week that he believed a “lefty” in the mayor’s office would be a “disaster.”

While municipal politics in Ontario is officially non-partisan, in Toronto it often breaks down roughly along traditional party lines. It remained unclear who could carry an unofficial New Democrat banner in the race. Some in the NDP have been urging former councillor Mike Layton, son of the late NDP leader and city councillor Jack Layton, to run.

Reached on Friday, Mr. Layton was non-committal. Asked if he was considering a bid, he replied that it was ”probably a little too early to say.”

Gil Penalosa, who placed a distant second behind Mr. Tory in last fall’s election, is running again, while Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter, a former education minister, said in a statement she was “seriously considering” a run.