The Ford Factor
The Ford brothers said it and they were right – the only poll that matters is the one on election day. Some opinion polls gave Tory a double-digit percentage lead in the closing stage of the campaign. The numbers narrowed in the last weeks; the final forecast by relative polling newcomer Mainstreet Technologies put the margin at 8 per cent. Still, voters came out for Doug Ford in larger numbers than the pollsters – and most political commentators – expected.
And as for Rob: “I will be running for mayor in four years,” he told The Toronto Sun’s Joe Warmington on Monday night. “I will be the first person to sign up in 2018.”
Turnout that beat the trend and crowded the polls
Voter turnout soared in Toronto but remained an embarrassment in most of the province.
Slightly more than 60 per cent of registered voters came to the polls in Toronto, fuelling line-ups in some voting locations that delayed the close of voting by 10 minutes.
In the Greater Toronto region it was a different story. The turnout in Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton and Vaughan was half of Toronto’s. In Oshawa, just one in four eligible voters dragged themselves to a polling place. In Ottawa, where politics might be assumed to hold some place in the average resident’s heart, the turnout was below 40 per cent.
Olivia Chow’s wobbly home base
John Tory fought Olivia Chow to a draw on her home turf. In the two city wards that make up the federal riding of Trinity-Spadina – the seat Chow gave up to run for mayor – Mr. Tory won one ward by 188 votes and lost the other by just over 2,500 votes.
The Chow campaign came out ahead in just three wards: Ward 14 (Parkdale-High Park), Ward 18 (Davenport) and Ward 19 (Trinity Spadina). Chow needed to do far better in areas of the city with strong NDP leanings.
Jon Burnside beside John Tory (Instagram)
A rough ride for some incumbents
Of the 44 city council seats decided on Monday night, 37 were won by the sitting councillor. One saw a sitting councillor unseated and six saw new faces elected in wards where the incumbent did not run for re-election
It is notoriously difficult to unseat an incumbent city councillor, in part due to advantages of name recognition and fundraising power. In Toronto this time around just one incumbent lost – Ford loyalist John Parker was clobbered by Jon Burnside, a former police officer who had John Tory’s endorsement in Ward 26 (Don Valley West).
A handful of incumbents had tough fights:
- Ron Moeser won re-election in Ward 44 (Scarborough East) with just 26 per cent of the vote and a margin of 572 votes.
- Veteran councillor Cesar Palacio fended off challenger Alejandra Bravo in Ward 17 (Davenport) by just 453 votes.
- Frank Di Giorgio hung on with with 29 per cent of the vote in Ward 12 (York-South Weston), where four candidates all won at least 20 per cent of the vote.
The biggest winners
Two sitting councillors were returned with 86 per cent of the vote:
- Josh Matlow in Ward 22 (St. Paul’s)
- Norm Kelly in Ward 40 (Scarborough-Agincourt).
Three other returning councillors racked up better than 80 per cent of the votes in their ward:
- Mike Layton in Ward 19 (Trinity-Spadina): 84 per cent
- Jaye Robinson in Ward 25 (Don Valley West): 83 per cent
- Michael Thompson in Ward 37 (Scarborough Centre): 81 per cent
Dogfight of the night
One of the more extraordinary contests was the race for Ward 16 (Eglinton-Lawrence), which was opened up by sitting councillor Karen Stintz stepping down to make a run for the mayor’s chair. With no incumbent and 16 challengers splitting the vote, Christin Carmichael Greb won a city council seat with just 3,949 votes, or 17.4 per cent of the total. To put that in perspective, Councillor Josh Colle held the neighbouring Ward 15 with 14,733 votes.