Though the mayoral race has been going on for some six months now, it has only recently intensified, due in large part to the televised debates receiving a lot of wrap-up coverage in print and broadcast media. While there may not appear to be a clear favourite just yet, a small pool of candidates have emerged as the forerunners.
Joe Pantalone: The Italian-born Ward 19 city councilman is a twenty-five year veteran of City Hall, and the lone immigrant among the leading candidates. He served these last few years as one of the City’s three Deputy Mayors, as appointed by David Miller. Among his campaign platforms are a promise to build Transit City, money allotted for greening the city’s landscapes, and to keep Toronto Hydro under municipal control.
Rocco Rossi: As the former director of the Liberal Party of Canada, Rossi made some important contacts, which led to positions as manager of John Tory’s 2003 mayoral bid and advisor to Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. His career has mostly been carved out in the non-profit sector, so questions about his political qualifications have been abound. If elected, Rossi promises to resolve the City’s budgetary problems via long-term planning and shrewd management of services like the Toronto Hydro and the TTC.
George Smitherman: The former provincial cabinet minister is atop the polls for now, though only by a slim margin. He spent some years in Dalton McGuinty’s provincial cabinet as Minister of Health, making him the only member of the race to have been an elected official in another setting. Smitherman’s campaign promises include to review the municipal budget line by line and to protect city assets from privatization.
Rob Ford: The veteran Etobicoke councilor joined the race fairly late, and as a result has the least comprehensive platform. His available platform consists mostly of calls to decrease unnecessary city spending, such as councilor expense accounts and civil servant perks.
A few other contenders, most notably Sarah Thompson and Giorgio Mammoliti, have received some mainstream media coverage, though its likely the race will be decided when one of the aforementioned four candidates pulls away from the pack.