Mario Mastrangelo, a volunteer for mayor-elect Rob Ford’s campaign, said he expected a landslide victory from the outset despite polls suggesting a race too close to call.Ford garnered almost 50 per cent of the vote Monday while George Smitherman and Joe Pantalone garnered 35 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively. In the end, Ford was able to motivate more voters to get out and support him.
An Etobicoke resident, Mastrangelo, 50, cut a holiday in Italy short so he could vote in the municipal election and spend his day driving voters to the polls.
“We had it going like a machine, like clockwork. That’s why we won,” Mastrangelo said. “We didn’t miss one person.”
Jack Rafike, a Ward 12 resident and local business owner, also devoted his day to getting Ford supporters out to vote, and many other days to the campaign as well.
“I work 72 hours a week at my business and I would put three, four hours a day in every day for Rob,” Rafike said.
As the first poll results came in, the crowd at the Toronto Congress Centre erupted with cheers and the tooting of “stop the gravy” whistles, reminiscent of the vuvuzelas that defined the World Cup crowd last summer.
In no time, Ford had officially been declared mayor, inspiring a dance party including a conga line in front of the main stage and large screens displaying the results.
Ford arrived shortly after 10 p.m. to address the jubilant crowd that had been steadily increasing in numbers and intensity for almost two hours.
He too attributed much of his success to his campaign team and volunteers.
“We fought a long, hard campaign. We were disciplined. We were creative. We were tireless. Tonight we celebrate victory,” Ford said. “We surprised many people across this city and across the entire country.”
While his supporters booed at the mention of George Smitherman, Ford calmed the crowd so he could offer his condolences and wish him the best in his future endeavours.
He also thanked Joe Pantalone for 30 years of dedicated service to the city.
Now that Ford has won the mayoralty, he will have to fulfill the promises of his campaign. That includes abolishing the $60 vehicle registration tax as well as the land transfer tax.
Ford said he is in tune with what Torontonians want and is prepared to act.
“You came out in record numbers to mark your ballots and make your voices heard,” Ford said. “I hear you loud and clear Toronto.”