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Ward 2 candidates react to Ford's decision to run for old seat

News of a new contender has not put off candidates running for city council in Ward 2, Etobicoke North.

At the close of Friday’s nomination deadline, 14 candidates were registered to run for the seat, including Rob Ford who bowed out of the mayoral race.

Ford announced earlier in the day he would withdraw from the mayoral race in light of his health concerns. His brother Doug Ford has registered to run for mayor and Rob hopes to return to the council seat he held for almost a decade before being elected mayor in 2010.

Of the five candidates CityNews reached, all five were still running for council and eager to take on Rob Ford.

Munira Abukar, 22, has lived in Ward 2 her entire life and she said she is excited to usher in change at city hall.

“A last name is only letters. For the voters it means nothing if you haven’t been bringing a change,” said Abukar, who is a community activist.

“We shouldn’t be looking to play musical chairs with our politicians,” she added. “I am letting him know get well, and bring it on.”

Benn Adeoba said he had already received a few calls asking if he planned to stay in the race.

“I’m wishing him a speedy recovery. But right now the race is still the same. I’ve run my race since Jan. 2 to build a stronger Etobicoke and it’s not something I’m going to change,” he said.

“Looking forward to facing him on the debate trail, hopefully, when he gets better.”

For David Caravaggio said the race is still on.

“I wish him well, but we’re gonna fight on and see what happens,” said Caravaggio. “For Ward 2, we need a positive voice. For Toronto we need to end this soap opera. It’s never ending.”

Reached at his campaign office, Andray Domise, said nothing has changed with today’s news.

“We’ve always planned to run an active campaign until the very end,” said Domise.

“Ward 2 is not a consolation prize.”

Domise said the ward is one of the most transit deprived neighbourhoods in Toronto.

“We need to make sure Ward 2 in the next election, can fix 16 years of underdevelopment under the Fords,” he said.

Theo Lagakos was in the middle of canvassing when he provided his input.

“As I’ve knocked on doors I’ve come to realize people in Etobicoke are fed up with the status quo and need some real change.”

Lagakos, 48, has lived in Rexdale for 30 years.

“In terms of the campaign, we need to have effective change in Etobicoke. We have a lot of problems in this ward that don’t really get published,” said Lagakos.

He points to high youth unemployment and lackluster public transit options.

“I believe the Fords in general, the clan, they’re treating Ward 2 as if it’s their feudal little kingdom. That’s wrong, that’s bad for the democracy and we shouldn’t have one family have that much power over the public.”

Candidate Luke LaRocque sent out a news release reiterating his commitment to the campaign.

“Beyond the politicking and name-calling that other candidates have done,” said LaRocque, “knocking on over 15,000 doors in this Ward has made it clear: Etobicoke residents want a stable councillor who will work with them to build healthy, strong communities.”