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Radio host John Tory still undecided on Toronto mayoral run

John Tory says he has not made his mind up about whether to run for Toronto mayor.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Radio host John Tory says he still has not made up his mind about whether to run for Toronto mayor as speculation continues about whether he and NDP MP Olivia Chow will challenge scandal-plagued Rob Ford.

Mr. Tory took to the airwaves on Wednesday evening to deny a Toronto Star story suggesting that he would launch his campaign in late February.

"There has been no decision taken to run or not to run," Mr. Tory told Newstalk 1010, where he hosts an afternoon radio show.

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Despite not yet announcing their intentions, both Mr. Tory and Ms. Chow are perceived as front-runners in the battle to oust Mr. Ford from the mayor's office.

Mr. Tory, who lost the 2003 mayoral race to David Miller and served as leader of the provincial Progressive Conservatives, said he would decide whether to run in February. A group of supporters is organizing a possible campaign to "preserve an option for me to run if I choose to do so," he told the radio station.

Mr. Tory's hesitation comes as Ms. Chow has also kept people guessing about whether she will run for mayor.

"Completely honest, of course I'm seriously thinking about running for mayor, right? Everybody knows that," the former city councillor told The Globe and Mail this week. "Our city deserves more than Rob Ford. I wouldn't want him to be a model for my grandkids."

Ms. Chow also has organizers laying the groundwork for a possible campaign. The people at the heart of her team are expected to be Joe Cressy, an NDP organizer who ran Ms. Chow's federal re-election bid in 2011, and veteran strategist John Laschinger, who helped to put Mr. Miller and June Rowlands in the mayor's office.

Mr. Tory's still-unofficial campaign team includes senior organizer Bob Richardson, a connected Liberal, and John Capobianco, a Conservative former Ford supporter.

Myer Siemiatycki, an expert in municipal politics at Ryerson University, said both potential candidates' reluctance in announcing their intentions is understandable, given the "almost inhumanly long campaign period" leading up to the Oct. 27 election. Declaring too early risks rendering a candidate "stale news," he said, adding that both candidates appear to be focusing on assembling teams and campaign strategy.

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"I don't think either of them would want to launch and declare without being in the strongest possible position to head into the winner's circle," he said.

So far, Mr. Ford, Toronto Transit Commission Chair Karen Stintz and former city budget chief David Soknacki are among the candidates who have announced they will run for mayor.

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