As Rob Ford prepares to re-enter the mayor’s race that’s been getting on just fine without him, a Forum poll released last week put him in second place, behind challenger Olivia Chow and ahead of John Tory.
According to Forum, Chow would win a five-way race with 34 per cent of the vote, with Ford grabbing 27 per cent and Tory getting 24 per cent. It’s surprising stuff, and not only because Ford has maintained such a large group of supporters in spite of being a known criminal. Tory trails a guy who’s been bro’ing out in Muskoka for several weeks.
So does this really mean Ford can still compete in the mayor’s race? Maybe not. Journalist and smarter-guy-than-you David Hains has already broken it down this way: 27 per cent of the electorate would vote for Ford, so he needs to appeal to more voters. But 58 per cent of those voters want him to resign. This number can change, but right now, there’s just a tiny chunk of the electorate for Ford to try and snag. The math doesn’t look good.
But wait. There’s another poll, this one done by Tory strategist Nick Kouvalis’ firm Campaign Research, that shows Chow and Tory in a virtual deadlock, with Ford far behind.
Chow’s campaign has insisted that she’s the only candidate capable of beating Ford, meaning that a vote for Tory is essentially a vote for the crack-smoking incumbent. Jamey Heath, Chow’s communications director, denied that the Globe story undermined this message.
“The challenge that Tory has is that he cannot relate to people. He doesn’t have the policies to relate to people; he doesn’t have the biography to relate to people.” Heath said. “Both Ford and Olivia do.”
Heath refused to comment on the Chow campaign’s internal polling.
Anyway, here are some hints about what kind of nonsense Rob Ford and his team will be spouting when the mayor returns to the race today. The mayor is healthier. The mayor will fix your potholes. The mayor may have had sex with “the poor people.” Same old.
John Tory believes in miracles
Back in May, John Tory spokesperson Amanda Galbraith said that it would take a miracle to have shovels in the ground on the Scarborough subway by 2015. Despite this bit of candor from the campaign, Tory’s website still says the project could break ground by next year. In a statement about bringing jobs to Scarborough, for instance, Tory is quoted as saying that he hopes to have a sound economic plan in place “when the shovels start digging in 2015.”
We asked Tory about his transit timelines at a press conference last Thursday. Get it while it’s hot.
The Grid: John, why does your website say that you’ll have shovels in the ground on the Scarborough subway in 2015 when your own press secretary has said that would take a miracle?
John Tory: I think “shovels in the ground” is an expression that we all use to say you’re getting on with the project, and I recognize the fact there are various things that have to be done. I guess the point I was trying to make at that time, or that was trying to be made by the website, is that I’m going to make sure we don’t re-open the debate, as Ms. Chow is promising to do, that we don’t engage in further delay because we’re having a political discussion, again, about this issue, and that we get on with it. And so, whatever day that means, and I realize it may be a couple of years after all the different things are done that need to be done—but the bottom line: no delays. We’re going to get on with it. And, “shovels in the ground,” I think, is an expression people use about getting on with it. Thank you very much.
Reporter: Hold on. Just to be clear—“shovels in the ground,” to you, just means “work’s happening”? It doesn’t actually mean anything physical, construction-wise? Because that’s what everybody else thinks.
Tory: You’re going to get under construction as soon as you possibly can. The first day you possibly can put a shovel in the ground is exactly what’s going to be done.
Reporter: And you don’t see it as disingenuous to say, “2015, shovels in the ground”?
Tory: Thank you very much.
Who’s trolling John Tory?
Tory’s March 19 campaign launch was a success—save for one minor speed bump. Before the launch, the media had reported on an email from an executive at Rogers, where Tory is a board member, informing staff that—no pressure—they might want to consider attending the candidate’s rally.
Shortly before Tory’s speech, a woman showed up and handed members of the media copies of the email.
That’s a video we shot of Amanda Galbraith kicking the woman, wearing the hat and glasses, out of the rally. The mystery woman said she was an Olivia Chow supporter and was unaffiliated with the campaign.
Fast-forward to May. Tory announced his SmartTrack transit plan, a move that Chow’s campaign labeled a flip-flop. Then this video appeared on YouTube.
Look familiar? The video has since disappeared from YouTube, though a nearly identical version is still online.
Jamey Heath said he had no knowledge of the video. And Warren Kinsella, who posted a link to the original video on his Twitter feed, declined to comment.
So who’s trolling Tory? All we know so far is it’s a Chow supporter, and that she’s acquainted with an amateur filmmaker who shoots videos in portrait orientation. Send your tips to email@example.com.
What you might have missed
David Soknacki released a video outlining his bike plan. Can’t get enough of the Sok’? A plucky local weekly has you covered.
Welcome back, Mr. Mayor. The city’s integrity commissioner would love to speak with you.
The Star reports that Giorgio Mammoliti, who’s running for re-election in Ward 7, is trying to kill the integrity commissioner’s investigation of a pricey fundraiser held for the councillor in 2013.
Oh, and Kathleen Wynne indicated that the Scarborough subway debate could be re-opened.
We’ve got “shovels in the ground” on the next edition of Bring the ’Paign, which will appear this Friday.