For Torontonians who like their mayors on crack, probably in one of their drunken stupors, 2014 is beginning with some great news: Rob Ford is running for re-election.
Yes, it's true! Word came from Ford's spokesperson and was tweeted by CNN producer Vaughn Sterling:
CNN JUST IN: Toronto mayor Rob Ford Will File for Re-Election #2014— Vaughn Sterling (@vplus) January 1, 2014
While it may seem completely insane for a politician to seek re-election after, well, everything Rob Ford has done, it's not a huge surprise. Though Ford's mayoral powers have been largely taken away from him, he's refused to step down and tried to lay low in the last month (except for that dance video. Oh, and the lawsuit over calling a reporter a pedophile. I mean, for Rob Ford, this is lying low), possibly hoping this whole thing might blow over by the October 27 election.
Indeed, the campaign to repair Rob Ford's image began in earnest today, when the Globe and Mail interviewed Ford's lawyer about the mayor's "road to redemption."
Dennis Morris told the paper that his client "did not acknowledge appropriately" his "substance abuse problem," but that was no reason for him to step aside:
What reason is there for him to step aside? I'm not really sure because I don't think there’s any precedent that anybody must step aside. What if he said, 'I overindulged in alcohol?' Is it because alcohol’s legal, crack cocaine isn't? I don't really know. And I think he made an excellent decision not to step aside because, as you see, he's rehabilitating himself as of the past [several] weeks.
Asked what he thought of Ford's re-election chances, Morris said:
I think they’re excellent. I think if you asked me that a few months ago, I’d think otherwise because people aren’t happy when an individual with substance abuse difficulties doesn’t acknowledge and do something about them. It’s a type of illness and if you’re able to overcome it and take steps to overcome it, I think people will be forgiving.
While Morris says everything is excellent, Globe and Mail's Jill Mahoney wasn't quite as optimistic, giving his chances a solid "maybe." (Her answers to questions about the fallout from the active police investigation and whether or not that video would ever come out were about as non-committal: "too early to tell" and "possibly," respectively.)
Meanwhile, Toronto Star columnist Rosie DiManno spoke for many of us with her opening line/written sigh: "Here we are, 2014, and guess who's still the mayor of Toronto."
Ford will file for re-election tomorrow. Today, he's busy meeting with his constituents at the New Year's Day levée (levées are some Canadian thing. Unfortunately The Wire's Canadian correspondent is probably at one today and so I can't ask him to clarify):
My 2014 Levee has started at City Hall, come down and say hello! pic.twitter.com/3OEZQDG0LJ— Mayor Rob Ford (@TOMayorFord) January 1, 2014
Rob Ford and a baby pic.twitter.com/iNNzGNqOjX— Ben Spurr (@BenSpurr) January 1, 2014
And while Ford's fans and those of us who get to write about his exploits are mostly thrilled at the announcement, there is one not-so-great aspect: now we all have to learn how Canada's municipal election process works.