Since there’s not much happening in American politics this week, let’s look at what’s going on north of our borders, shall we? As it happens, conservative Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will seek re-election, despite the fact he admitted to smoking crack earlier this year:
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has put his name on the ballot to run for another term, defying repeated calls for him to step down after admitting he smoked crack "in a drunken stupor."
Ford was the first candidate to show up at City Hall when registration opened Thursday for the city's municipal election Oct. 27.
He promised "Ford more years," the Toronto Star reported. He also called himself "the best mayor this city has ever had."
"If you want to get personal, that's fine," Ford told reporters, according to the Star. "I'm sticking to my record, and talk is cheap. You're going to see action like you've never seen before."
His constituents, meanwhile, seem to have very different opinions about him:
Reactions were swift but mixed Thursday after Ford signed up to run again.
"That pathetic excuse for a mayor should get the hell out and stop embarrassing this beautiful city," said Inna Evtoushenko, 36, a Toronto resident.
Derek Killins disagreed. "Other than embarrass the hell out of himself and the city as a public figure, has he done anything pertaining to his job that was detrimental to the city's well-being from a financial or economical standpoint?" the resident of neighboring Waterloo said. "Most people I ask say that he's done a good job for the city otherwise."
Since the incident, CBS News reports Ford has reformed his ways, and is now a teetotaler. But although he’s worked hard to reform his image, he’s probably going to have a tough time winning re-election:
"It's too early to tell about Ford's chances," said University of Toronto political science professor Nelson Wiseman of the upcoming election. "Ford's more immediate challenge is whether the police charge him before the election. If they do, he's toast. If they don't, the outcome depends on the vote split.
"I do not believe Ford will win more than about 25 percent of the vote whoever his opponents are. It is possible, however, to win with under 30 percent, depending on the vote split."
The Toronto police investigation remains active. "There are still some matters that are being investigated and pursued," Police Chief Bill Blair told The Globe and Mail last week.
The fact that political scientists believe he still has a chance to win re-election is pretty remarkable. It’s not just that he admitted to smoking crack-cocaine, after first denying the charge; his behavior and statements over the last few months have been rather strange and inappropriate at times, leading some to question his sanity. And even if he’s been an effective mayor, Toronto’s city council has already stripped him of any real authority, presumably as punishment for his drunken and violent outbursts. So I ask: is this man really fit for office? I suspect his most loyal supporters, who continue to believe he's funny and entertaining and good at his job -- if absolutely ridiculous -- will back him again no matter what. But odds are those who feel he’s brought too much shame and notoriety to their city will carry the day, and send him packing when the time comes.
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