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Toronto mayoral election ends in Ford family’s defeat

Tory halts brother’s bid to succeed incumbent

Rob Gillies Associated Press

TORONTO – Toronto elected a moderate conservative as mayor Monday, ending the Rob Ford era marked by scandals over his illegal drug use and public drunkenness.

John Tory, a former chief executive of major cable company Rogers Communications, had 40 percent of the vote, compared to 34 percent for Doug Ford, brother of outgoing Mayor Rob Ford. Left-leaning Olivia Chow was third with nearly 23 percent, with nearly 100 percent of polling stations reporting.

“The people have spoken and tonight we begin the work of building one Toronto,” Tory told cheering supporters. “Torontonians want to see an end to the divisions that have paralyzed city hall for the last few years. I hear you.”

Rob Ford’s four-year tenure as mayor of Canada’s largest city was marred by his drinking and crack cocaine use. He announced last month that he wouldn’t seek re-election as he battles a rare form of cancer. His brother, a city councilor, ran in his place.

Doug Ford’s supporters booed when he congratulated Tory on his victory. Doug Ford later said the scandals played a part in the loss but said he was “super proud” of his brother.

“I still believe he’s the best mayor ever,” Doug Ford said.

However, Rob Ford will not disappear from Toronto politics anytime soon.

Despite the cancer, he opted to seek the City Council seat held by his brother from the Etobicoke district in western Toronto where he launched his political career. He won his old seat in a landslide Monday and strongly hinted he may seek to run for mayor again in four years.

“In four more years, you’re going to see another example of the Ford family never, ever, ever giving up,” he said.

After months of denials, Rob Ford in 2013 acknowledged he had smoked crack cocaine in one of his “drunken stupors,” but he refused to resign. The City Council stripped Ford of most of his powers but lacked the authority to force him out of office because he wasn’t convicted of a crime.

Ford announced he was entering rehab for drugs and alcohol in April after newspaper reports detailed three nights in which he was extremely intoxicated. One report was about a video that appeared to show him smoking a crack pipe again – nearly a year after reports of a similar video first brought international attention.

Tory, 60, a longtime moderate conservative politician and adviser, also has served as commissioner of the Canadian Football League and more recently hosted a radio talk show. He ran for mayor in 2003 and lost.

Tory has promised to end the circus at City Hall and to get people moving with a new public transit plan.

“I will be a balanced and accountable leader,” Tory said.

Nelson Wiseman, a University of Toronto political science professor, said Toronto municipal politics unlikely will be international news with Tory as mayor.

“Personality-wise, they are mirror opposites, but anybody is dull compared to Rob Ford,” Wiseman said. “It’s been an outrageously entertaining circus. Alas, the curtain has come down.”

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