102 candidates officially registered for Toronto mayor’s race

Several candidates running to become Toronto mayor were fighting back after Ford suggested more experience was needed beyond representing "a little ward." Mark McAllister gathers reaction from the campaign trail.

By Mark McAllister and John Marchesan

A total of 102 candidates have registered to run for mayor in the byelection set for June 26, including a dog named Molly.

It’s the highest number of candidates ever registered to run for mayor, surpassing the previous high of 65 in the 2014 municipal election. In 2022, there were 31 candidates seeking the mayor’s job.

Despite saying multiple times that he would not get involved in the mayoral campaign, Premier Doug Ford once again weighed in with his opinion which appeared to favour one candidate in particular.

“We need someone who has experience dealing with crime. I believe we need someone that has actually run an operation with a number of employees that has the experience,” said Ford. “We need someone in Toronto that knows all of Toronto, not a little ward that they’ve been representing, but all of Toronto.”

Olivia Chow issued a statement, saying “Doug Ford is obviously worried that his preferred candidate is falling behind, but he needs to let the people of Toronto have their say and to stop meddling in our local democracy.”

Josh Matlow said while Mark Saunders may want to be the agent for Doug Ford in the mayor’s office, his job will be to represent the people of Toronto and take a stand for the city.

Brad Bradford pointed out that 86 per cent of frontline police officers voted non-confidence on Saunders when he was chief of police.

Saunders issued a statement, saying the next mayor needs to be able to sit at the table with all levels of government while singling out two of his rival candidates.

“It serves nobody to take an aggressive, adversarial approach to intergovernmental relations, and frankly I’m surprised that Olivia Chow and Josh Matlow think that Torontonians would be better off in constant conflict with the provincial or federal governments,” he said.

Former Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter took issue with Ford’s comments as well, suggesting that her experience wasn’t enough to take on the city’s top job.

“I’ve also been a CEO and actually led in the business community as well. If that’s the criteria, then I’m your woman.”

Meanwhile, a new Mainstreet Research Poll shows Chow with 31 per cent support of decided voters – more than double that of her nearest challenger, Ana Bailao at 15 per cent. Saunders is third at 12 per cent while Matlow comes in with 10 per cent support. Thirty-five per cent of voters asked say they are still undecided.

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