Newly-declared Toronto mayoral candidate Karen Stintz blanketed the airwaves on Monday in an attempt to portray herself as a serious fiscal conservative who will get the city back on track.
The long-time city councillor said she will focus on policy while building consensus, drawing contrasts with Mayor Rob Ford, who has been mired in controversy for the past several months.
"I want to make that sure we focus on the issues, not the personality, because that's how we build a city and move it forward," she told CP24.
Ms. Stintz announced on the weekend that she plans to run for mayor in next year's election. Her candidacy crowds the right-wing of the mayoral spectrum, which could also attract former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader John Tory.
Olivia Chow, an NDP MP and former Toronto councillor, is also considering challenging Mr. Ford. Only one other candidate – businessman and former councillor David Soknacki – has jumped into the race.
On Sunday, Mr. Ford said he welcomes all challengers. "Can't wait. Just, I'm drooling right now," he told reporters.
Ms. Stintz said she continues to support the mayor's fiscal agenda and will vote for the upcoming budget. But she sought to differentiate herself, saying she is committed to working with others to achieve consensus and steer the city on a path of progress.
"I think if we have another four years of Rob Ford, we'll stay exactly where we are. I think we have an opportunity to move forward, and I want to be the one who does that," she told Newstalk 1010.
Ms. Stintz was first elected as councillor in 2003. After the 2010 municipal election, Mr. Ford appointed her chair of the Toronto Transit Commission and she supported his bid to control spending. But she took on Mr. Ford over subways, leading a council revolt against his unfunded, underground-only transit vision. The fact that Ms. Stintz has since changed her mind on transit could hurt her, observers say.
Earlier this month, she voted for a Scarborough subway rather than a light-rail transit system, putting her on the same side as the mayor, a big proponent of the subway extension.
"I look at the last three years as building consensus, and that's what I did," she told Newstalk 1010. "I'm proud of the plan we built and that we approved at council. I hope that's the plan that ultimately gets built, because that's the one that's best for the city."
Ms. Stintz also told the radio station that she would "not be chair of the TTC" once she formally declares her mayoral candidacy.
The election will be held on Oct. 27, 2014.
With a report from Karen Howlett