Toronto mayoral race puts spotlight on lesser known Ford

Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:52pm EDT
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By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO (Reuters) - The withdrawal of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and the entry of his older brother in the race turned the spotlight from a volatile man who had admitted smoking crack cocaine to his less charismatic but steadier sibling, long seen as the power behind the throne.

Rob Ford, 45, hospitalized this week with an abdominal tumor, dropped his bid for re-election on Friday and his brother Doug, 49, took his place in the race to lead Canada's largest city and financial capital.

Doug Ford, a first-time city councillor and businessman, has been the mayor's most aggressive advocate, defender and sometimes critic. The elder Ford was also the mayor's campaign manager.

"Did the real Mayor Ford just stand up?" tweeted Quito Maggi, a Toronto pollster and political consultant, after the family switch just minutes before a deadline for changes to the city election ballot.

"He comes with all the positives, the same track record as his brother, but not as much of the baggage and negatives," Maggi added in an interview.

Doug Ford is slated to hold a press conference on Friday night.

Despite being a rookie councillor elected when his brother came to power in 2010, Doug Ford has been a major force in city politics, influencing policy and serving as the mayor's spokesman. He has been at his brother's side in a string of interviews since the crack cocaine scandal erupted in 2013.

And each twist in the mayor's saga came with a subplot starring his brother.   Continued...

Doug Ford, brother of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, arrives at his mother's home where he announced he will be running for mayor in place of his brother Rob's bid for re-election in Etobicoke, Ontario September 12, 2014. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill