Mayor Rob Ford ended his campaign for mayor Friday, withdrawing from the race on the last day candidates could do so.
Ford’s brother, Doug Ford, has entered the race, filling out his paper work only minutes before the 2 p.m. deadline.
In a statement Rob said that his “heart is heavy,” but that doctors advised him that his health is more important than the campaign.
“Now I could be facing a battle of my lifetime, and I want the people of Toronto to know that I intend to face this challenge head on, and win,” he said.
Rob Ford was admitted to Humber River Regional Hospital Wednesday night and was diagnosed with a tumor in his abdomen. On Thursday he was moved to Mount Sinai hospital for further tests. He is expected to remain in hospital until more test results come in next week.
While Doug was caught on camera a couple times by the media that crowds outside the mayor’s office, he has not made any comments on the race or his brother’s health at the time of this writing.
Some of the members of the protest group Rob Ford Must Go, who have been holding sit-ins outside of the mayor’s office, considered the day’s announcement a win for their group.
“We were happy and relieved,” said Don Quinlan. “He was a terrible mayor that just divided the city and I think he didn’t have a clue how to run the city.”
Mayor candidate John Tory said he wishes Rob well and that he welcomes Doug into the ring. When asked how he thought how this would affect his campaign, Tory said he is staying the course.
“I imagine today’s decision was the most difficult of [Rob’s] career,” Tory said. “[But] the choice that the people of Toronto [face] has not changed.”
Olivia Chow, another high profile candidate in the race, refused to comment on Doug Ford entering the race, but did say, “as it gets closer to election day, we need to be clear as to where we stand.”
While he has pulled out of the race for mayor, Rob Ford has not given up on returning to city hall. He will run in ward two, which is currently held by Doug and was held by Rob for the 10 years before he was mayor.