The fight for Toronto City Hall ends tonight with Rob Ford elected Mayor
It was supposed to be a close contest between a well-known former Deputy Premier and a populist tax-cutting city councillor. In the end it was Rob Ford's day, with a landslide win driven by his huge popularity in the suburbs and his focused campaign message about respecting the taxpayer.
Without question Ford's success is a strong mandate for change. He ran on a handful of issues:
- privatizing Toronto's garbage service
- reducing the number of city councillor seats
- respecting taxpayers
Ford's message around transportation was get people and traffic moving and bring an end to gridlock. For Toronto that's a tall order, but someone like Ford will have many friends at both the federal and, possibly soon, the provincial levels of government. This will help Toronto to secure funding for his promised subway expansion.
Where young, social media savvy voters supposedly ruled in Calgary, that same crowd appeared to be in shock at learning that Ford was declared the winner within 5 minutes of the polls closing. What Calgary and Toronto voters both sought and received was change. There is clearly a lot of frustration out among the electorate, which sitting governments in other parts of Canada, including Vancouver, must take note of.
So it was not much of a night in terms of our live blogging (which you can read below), but our Twitter has been burning up the interweb for several hours – see @CityCaucus.
All times PST
6:39 PM We're taking a break from live blogging and will provide a summary later this evening. We're still tweeting however.
6:26 PM Everyone waiting for Rob Ford to make his appearance and speak to supporters
6:20 PM People online beginning to ask how the pollsters got it so wrong
6:08 PM One Torontonian sums it up by saying "I'm moving to Calgary"
6:07 PM George Smitherman makes his way to the stage. Concedes defeat. Crowd goes wild yelling "George, George, George". An emotional Smitherman says "I loved every minute of it".
6:03 PM Mississauga Mayor Hazel Macallion wins her 8th term in a row. She lashes out at media for a 6 month negative campaign against her.
6:01 PM Incumbent Mayor of Vaughan goes down to defeat. Former Liberal MP Maurizio Bevilaqua to become new mayor.
6:00 PM Incumbent Mayor of Ottawa goes down to defeat. A number of incumbent councillor in Toronto also caught up in wave of change.
5:47 PM It's over, babe. Rob Ford trounces 2nd place Smitherman. Calgary writer says the right split allowing @Nenshi win. In Toronto split on left led to #RobFord stomping #Smitherman #voteTO
5:23 PM Pretty clear that Twitter did NOT elect Toronto's new mayor as it may have with @Neshi in Calgary. The comments streaming in about the new mayor are not happy ones.
5:21 PM Toronto Star says Rob Ford is Toronto's new mayor.
5:17 PM CBC & Global News now also declaring Rob Ford as new Toronto Mayor!
5:14 PM Rob Ford already declared the winner by CTV, CP24, & CityNews. This could be a VERY short live blog!
4:49 PM PST CityCaucus.com will be live blogging and tweeting (@CityCaucus, hashtag #voteTO) this evening about the Toronto civic election. Early reports say there has been heavy turnout at several polling stations. Hashtag #smitherman dominating Twittersphere as far as we can tell. Hundreds of tweets happening per minute.
CC Trivia: the image above was featured on our very first post from December 7, 2008.