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Karen Stintz speaks to the media at city hall in Toronto on Aug. 21, 2014.

As the Toronto mayoral race enters its most important stretch, the field has lost one of its top five contenders, with Karen Stintz dropping out and declining to lend her support to another candidate – saying she's finished completely with politics.

Ms. Stintz, a city councillor and former TTC chair, announced she was officially dropping out Thursday, and surprised City Hall-watchers by not backing any of her rivals – quelling speculation she might support fellow centre-right candidate John Tory. And while she's ending her political career now, she said her future might include a "business" role – hinting at an interest in the soon-to-be vacant job of CFL commissioner.

"It's been an amazing opportunity to participate in this campaign, but I am disappointed because I wanted to be on the ballot," Ms. Stintz said in an interview with the Globe. "I wanted to be able to cast a vote for change – for me – and I won't be able to."

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She made her final decision about a week ago, she said, after realizing the race was entering the crucial post-Labour Day stretch – when most voters turn their attention to the race – and that "I likely wasn't going to break through the 5-per-cent ceiling."

And while her supporters say her support will likely go to Mr. Tory – with whom she had a thorny relationship on the campaign trail – Ms. Stintz herself said she "didn't feel it was necessary" to endorse anyone.

"I'm hoping that some of my ideas will still live and my team will go and support the candidate that's right for them."

Despite that, her rivals wasted no time appealing to her supporters.

"Stintz voters know that her and I share the same ideas – again, give or take a few issues," Mayor Rob Ford said.

And Olivia Chow spoke of "shared priorities."

"I will take up her priorities of making the subway relief line a reality. It's her priority, it's [the] TTC's top priority, it's also my priority," she said.

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But York University chancellor Greg Sorbara, who originally encouraged Ms. Stintz to run, said: "I don't think there's any doubt that it's John who benefits. Their politics are somewhat similar, and their styles are somewhat similar."

Paul Brown, an adviser to Ms. Stintz, said her decision ultimately came down to finances.

"Once you get to the fall season, you need signs and all that kind of paraphernalia, you have to be honest with yourself whether it's there for that," he said.

When asked about her future, Ms. Stintz said "the position at CFL just opened up" – referring to CFL commissioner Mark Cohon's announcement Thursday he's stepping down – and citing it as the type of job she would be interested in.

(She added that she hasn't approached the league, and league chair Jim Lawson referred The Globe to a statement saying the search is "very much in the initial stages.")

"I don't know. I really don't," she said.

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But she was definite about one thing: "It's not politics. I think I've had my share – my fill of politics."

With reports from Marcus Gee

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