Assessing the potential mayoral candidates for 2014.
Pros: Strong—even dominating—support in early polls. City council background from the Lastman era, widow of beloved political saint Jack Layton. Strong progressive connection to the NDP.
Cons: Strong progressive connection to the NDP could be a liability for some voters. Not known as a strong campaigner, and early frontrunners rarely win Toronto mayoral elections.
Pros: Widely romanticized as the “best mayor we never had,” he could draw strong theoretical support from right-wingers and centrists afraid of more Ford. Reasonable early poll numbers.
Cons: Has never won an election, despite repeated tries. His indecision about running for mayor in 2010 burnt a lot of bridges and paved the way for a Ford victory.
Pros: High profile as TTC chair, with strong credentials gained by standing up to Ford (and winning), and leading a council coalition. Fiscal conservative.
Cons: She has weak early polling numbers, and her reputation for leadership of council coalitions has taken a beating in the past year as the OneCity plan and the transit funding vote both fell apart. No obvious built-in support base.
Pros: High profile and well-spoken, he’s a downtown urbanist’s dream candidate. Understands the vision thing. Unapologetic about standing up for his beliefs, even in the face of unpopularity.
Cons: Widely seen as a strict partisan, and is actively disliked by talk-radio conservatives. Perhaps considered too downtown-centric for suburbanites to embrace.
Pros: A former budget chief from North York, she’s also a former Miller lieutenant who represents and understands the suburbs. Familiar with the ins and outs of the city’s finances. Experienced. Well-liked by progressives at City Hall.
Cons: Consistently low poll numbers: despite high council profile, hasn’t captured the public imagination.
Pros: Tenacious, kind of wild, very sure of herself. Has been a vocal, high-profile advocate for transit funding.
Cons: Hard to see any kind of real support forming behind her, has never won an election for anything. Seen as a borderline fringe candidate.
Pros: There really aren’t many, due to his low profile, divisive persona, and general lack of council leadership.
Cons: Microscopic polling numbers, spiteful relationships with many council colleagues, no base of support.
Related reading: Could Rob Ford actually win again?