It’s one of those quiet weeks at City Hall. Not a lot is happening. Meetings are being cancelled because councillors aren’t showing up. And the rest of the city seems preoccupied by the fact that is ridiculously, eye-meltingly hot outside.
So in lieu of real news, we turn to wild speculation about the 2014 municipal election.
This week, we got word that well-known NDP MP Olivia Chow is being courted as a potential foe for Rob Ford in the upcoming mayoral race. It’s an idea that makes sense. As a potential candidate, she’s got incredible name recognition and a ton of experience as a City Councillor to draw from. Plus, you know, the Jack Layton thing.
With Chow, the list of potential candidates for 2014 continues to grow. Few will confirm or deny their intentions, which essentially means that reporters and pundits are left to make crazy assumptions. It’s a good thing we like doing that.
Here’s my list of potential candidates for mayor in 2014 with some notes on each:
Councillor Shelley Carroll
Going for her: She knows the city’s budget better than anyone. Representing a North York Ward gives her suburban credibility. Card-carrying Liberal but seems to stay on the NDP’s good side.
Going against her: Vulnerable to anti-David Miller sentiment. (She was his budget chief.) Not especially well-known by those who don’t follow city politics.
Will she run? I’d bet money on it.
Councillor Adam Vaughan
Going for him: Well-known as an eloquent enemy of Rob Ford. Hugely popular in his downtown ward. Can probably crush anyone in a debate.
Going against him: Would need to convince rich suburban voters that he cares about them.
Will he run? I still lean toward thinking he won’t make the jump. He’ll defer to Carroll.
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam
Going for her: Business-like approach to progressive issues has won her a lot of fans. Skillfully avoids the mud-fights other councillors often find themselves in.
Going against her: Still new at this whole politics thing.
Will she run? I think she should, but 2014 might be too soon.
Radio Host John Tory
Going for him: Has a popular radio show where he does that thing where he presents all his political opinions as just plain common sense. Demonstrates a real love for Toronto through his charity and advocacy work.
Going against him: Not sure he knows how to win an election.
Will he run? Probably not. But he’ll refuse to confirm either way for way longer than he should, just to drive us all nuts.
Councillor Karen Stintz
Going for her: She took on the mayor and his team in a high-profile transit battle, and then she won. Her push for light rail expansion means she’s a conservative with a lot of left-leaning friends.
Going against her: Has not indicated that she actually wants to be mayor. While she’s popular with the left now, her overall record as a councillor is anything but progressive. A mayoral push could see her bleed support from both sides.
Will she run? I’d be surprised.
NDP MP Olivia Chow
Going for her: Almost everyone in Canada knows who she is and what she stands for, following last year’s big NDP sweep in the federal election. Despite moving to federal politics, she’s stayed close to her Toronto roots and city issues.
Going against her: Why would she want to leave federal politics now, when the federal NDP actually has a shot at forming government within the next few years?
Will she run? For now, lets just assume that her name only came up because it’s a slow news week.
Former MP Gerard Kennedy, or any other former MP or MPP looking for something to do
Going for them: Some name recognition and the presumed backing of a political machine—or, at least, pieces of one.
Going against them: Rocco Rossi is a cautionary tale. So is George Smitherman. Federal or provincial politicians with no real experience at the city level face certain doom should they insist on swooping in for a run at the mayor’s chair. It hasn’t worked yet.
Will they run? I sure hope not.
Going for him: SYeD ran in 2010 and has remained a constant fixture at events and gatherings around the city.
Going against him: Sure is hard to get rid of that “fringe candidate” stigma.
Will he run? He’s already running.
Mayor Rob Ford
Going for him: He is the current mayor.
Going against him: His approval ratings are terrible and he’s proved mostly ineffectual at actually implementing policy.
Will he run? Have you ever known Rob Ford to be a quitter?