Can Toronto Mayor Rob Ford really get re-elected?

He may have been videotaped smoking crack cocaine, he may have been recorded threatening murder, and he may have been stripped of his authority by city council, but that didn’t stop Toronto Mayor Rob Ford from seeking another term.

The defiant politician was first in line last week at Toronto City Hall to register for re-election in the October race, declaring himself the best mayor the city has ever had. This on the heels of weeks of controversy beginning with rumors of a videotape that showed him smoking crack, which eventually came to be more than just a rumor.

What followed was a media circus (and dream come true for reporters) as Ford continued to command the spotlight with outlandish comments at press conferences, a defiant attitude at City Council and a new video that showed him in a drug-fueled rant threatening to kill someone.

Like a car crash, the world couldn’t look away.

Through it all, Ford is still standing, refusing to step away or down, cool off, go to rehab or do any of the other things disgraced politicians usually do post-scandal. Instead, Ford is powering through full steam ahead with unabashed confidence, with his brother, a Toronto city councilor and his campaign manager, by his side.

But that isn’t the most surprising part of Ford’s saga. What’s most unbelievable is that Ford, who was popular for his fiscal conservatism, could very well get re-elected after all.

“Ford’s Nation, as his team calls it, is a hard core of suburban voters with a smattering of support among white working class minority communities in urban downtown Toronto,” Dr. Michael Behiels, a professor of Canadian political and constitutional history at the University of Ottawa, told Metro. “These voters have remained loyal to Ford through all the scandals. They will vote for Ford in the Fall Municipal election come hell or high water.”

It wouldn’t be the first time a fallen-from-grace politician made a comeback — it happens in the U.S. all the time (who can forget Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Buddy Cianci and Elliot Spitzer?) He also wouldn’t be the first mayor to get caught smoking crack, but still become mayor again. In 1990, It happened to Marion Barry, the former mayor of  Washington, D.C. He served six months in federal prison. By 1994, he was back in office as mayor.

Canada, too, has plenty of cases, according to Behiels, who said the city of Toronto has seen its share of scandals involving city mayors — none, however, quite like Ford.

Still, never say never.

“Ford’s personal transgressions are a lot more serious than most of these former city mayors, but times have changed and voters seem more tolerant for personal transgressions today that they have been in the past,” Behiels said.

Ford’s potential success could teeter on the likeability of his contenders, Behiels said. The strongest candidate is likely Olivia Chow, a Canadian New Democratic Party Member of Parliament.

“She is very popular and could win if there are no other center-left candidates that will run and split the vote,” Behiels predicted. “Toronto City Conservatives now appear to be divided on Ford’s candidacy and some are pushing for another right wing candidate. If they find a strong conservative candidate, perhaps John Tory, this will split the right wing vote.”

As with any election, popularity will only get a candidate so far. The number gods could decide to smile upon Ford, possibly making him the first mayor in history to get caught smoking crack — and still be re-elected.

“If Toronto City Liberals decide to run a candidate — they have not found a strong one yet — then the opposition vote will be badly divided and Ford could easily win a plurality of the vote and become mayor once again,” Behiels said.

We’d say stranger things have happened, but we’re actually not sure.

Follow Cassandra Garrison on Twitter: @CassieAtMetro

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.