A smear campaign featuring allegations of a marijuana charge, drunken rowdiness and inappropriate racial comments wasn’t enough to stop Rob Ford — not even close.
A “vote anybody but Ford” campaign spearheaded by Sarah Thomson apparently didn’t have much of an effect either, as Ford cruised to victory in the mayoral race behind his vow to stop the gravy train.
“Toronto is open for business again,” proclaimed Ford as news of his victory broke just minutes after the polls closed at 8 p.m. “The party with taxpayers’ money is over, ladies and gentlemen.”
The party was just getting started for Ford’s admirers and campaign staff as he was declared Toronto’s next mayor, taking 47 per cent of the vote.
“This is a surreal feeling,” said Paige MacPherson, a social-media coordinator for Ford. “Rob Ford is a tremendous guy. He really deserves it and I’m so happy for him.
“This is an election about change. Toronto spoke and they want change.”
“Tonight the people of Toronto are not divided. Tonight we are united,” Ford told a ravenous crowd that seemed to cheer at his every word.
At least until he congratulated George Smitherman on a well-fought race, at which point the chorus of cheers was replaced by raucous boos.
In what was supposed to be a race that was too close to call, Smitherman only managed to pull in 36 per cent of the vote compared to Ford’s hefty 47 per cent.
“This is fantastic. Everybody said it was neck-and-neck,” Ford supporter Orest Teply said. “I walked in just after 8 and he had already won. I don’t know about these electronic polls, but I think it’s clear the city wants Rob Ford.”
Ford spent most of his election speech reiterating his campaign promises and thanking voters for their support. He also promised 100 more frontline police officers, the abolishment of the fair wage policy and an end to excessive spending by city councillors.
“There won’t be any more $12,000 retirement parties,” Ford joked.
He ended his victory speech by promising voters that four years from now they’ll look back at this day and say, “Rob Ford did everything he promised he would.”