A prominent co-chair of Rocco Rossi’s mayoral campaign acknowledges telling rival Rob Ford’s team he will join them if Rossi drops out of the race.

But John Capobianco said in an interview with the Toronto Star yesterday that it was a hypothetical statement made among friends, and he’s staying put as long as Rossi is running.

“In discussions today, Rocco made it abundantly clear that he’s staying in the race. I’m staying with him until the end,” said Capobianco, a prominent PR practitioner, influential Conservative strategist and two-time candidate for the federal Tories in Etobicoke-Lakeshore.

Capobianco hotly denied a suggestion in a news report yesterday that, during a meeting last week with Ford’s campaign manager Doug Ford and deputy campaign manager Nick Kouvalis, he asked if the Ford team would pay some workers until the Oct. 25 election if they moved over with him.

“I never, ever asked about money for staffers; that’s a complete fabrication,” Capobianco said.

The Star reported last week that some senior Rossi advisers were questioning if he should continue if the next poll doesn’t see his meagre support rise. Other advisers, however, are adamant that he stay in the race, and Rossi appears to agree.

“Last week, on my way home from work downtown to my home in Etobicoke, I stopped by the Ford family’s place of business, Deco Labels and Tags,” he wrote, adding that Rob Ford is a friend who supported his federal campaigns.


“The chat at Deco Labels last week lasted 35 minutes. Attending were myself, Nick Kouvalis and Doug Ford ... I was asked if the mayoral candidate I support, Rocco Rossi, might drop out of the race. I replied that he was not dropping out.

“I was then asked if, in the event he did, I would consider joining the Ford campaign. I replied that it was a hypothetical situation and difficult to speculate, but my inclination would be to do so in the event that Rocco left the race. I emphasized that Rocco was in the race until election day and I was with him to the end.

“I was also asked if I thought anyone else from the Rossi campaign would come over with me in the event Rocco dropped out. I replied that while it was hard to say, I’m sure there would be some.”