In the end, Doug Ford could not pull it off.
The Etobicoke councillor, who stepped into the race for mayor as a last-minute substitution for his ailing younger brother, Rob Ford, finished in second place with 34 per cent of the votes, behind winner John Tory. The defeat marks an end to Mr. Ford's four-year tenure at city hall– a place that just a few months ago he said he was happy to leave behind when he attended his last meeting as a city councillor.
All that changed in September when Rob Ford, who has a rare form of cancer, became too ill to stay in the mayor's race. Doug Ford – who first got the family into politics, convincing his dad to run provincially – picked up the torch from his brother to ensure there was a Ford on the ballot.
"We worked our backs off," he said. "For six weeks it was almost a flawless campaign. Right up to 6 o'clock we were banging on doors."
Doug Ford toured the city in an RV decorated with his picture, courting the Ford Nation vote. At the same time, he tried to distance himself from the addictions and scandals that surrounded his brother.
It was not a smooth ride.
His verbal attacks on his rivals in the mayor's race – and on members of the media – landed the Etobicoke councillor in hot water on more than one occasion. His comments that his wife Karla is Jewish also caused a commotion. Mr. Ford later clarified his remarks, saying she "comes from Jewish heritage."
As election day neared, Mr. Ford insisted he was in a "dead heat" with Mr. Tory – whom he worked hard to depict as a member of the "elites" who would not understand needs of average voters. Mr. Ford targeted social housing residents in his final push, knocking on doors Monday at a Toronto Community Housing complex in Scarborough. a part of the city where support for his brother's administration has been strong.
In the end it was not enough. After the votes were counted, the question remained whether he is done with politics and if he might return to his former life running the U.S. division of his family's company.
"I can't look forward that far," he said when asked if he will run in four years. "I'm always here for the great people of this city and I just want to serve any way I can like I have for years."