Big news today in Toronto with Rob Ford dropping out of the mayor's race due to health issues. Now his brother Doug Ford is stepping in to run for Toronto mayor in Rob's place, because the family considers the mayor's chair to be Ford family property, I guess.
And Rob Ford, sick in the hospital awaiting a tumour diagnosis, is running for his old seat of Ward 2. His 22-year-old nephew Mikey Ford has dropped out of the Ward 2 race to instead run for school trustee.
Yes this family seems to feel they are entitled to public office. We'll see if the voters agree.
Here's my assessment of the situation.
This is bad news for Olivia Chow, who might've benefited had Rob Ford been forced to remove himself from the race without being replaced by his brother. Then it would've been a choice between Chow and Tory, and progressive folks like myself would've had the luxury of choosing between them.
But now with Doug Ford on the ballot, the "AnybodyButFord" dynamic of this race continues. I'm still just as determined to keep Doug Ford out of the mayor's chair as I was removing Rob Ford. Both are cut from the same cloth.
Doug has less folksy charm and less political experience than Rob, two major parts of Rob's enduring appeal to Ford Nation types. I would guess, considering the circumstances, that most of Ford Nation will continue to back Doug Ford in this race. But no doubt, some might feel less inclined to do so.
Furthermore, the Rob Ford haters will, by and large, continue to oppose Doug Ford's candidacy for mayor. So I don't think Dougie is going to win much support from elsewhere that Rob couldn't win.
But now that Doug Ford is a new candidate for mayor, he now apparently has the right to spend the maximum of $1.3 million to support himself between now and October 27th. Money spent this year by his brother's campaign doesn't count against Dougie's new spending tally.
That's morally wrong since money spent this year to bolster the Ford brand is going to benefit Dougie.
I'm not too worried about that, though. I don't think any amount of money will change many people's minds about the Fords now, but nevertheless this switcheroo today does raise important questions about spending fairness. But no doubt, the Tory and Chow campaigns have been saving up the bulk of their own resources for this very late campaign period for advertising, so whatever extra cash Doug can spend may not make a real difference. He still has to raise that money.
I'm only annoyed that since Rob Ford is running in Ward 2, this means the jerk could still be around to spread his poison a bit more and perhaps launch a comeback in the future (should, of course, he survive his current cancer scare.)
Not a great day for decent people in Toronto.