Doug Ford says he won’t be running in the upcoming provincial election, by choice

Doug Ford says he won’t be running in the upcoming provincial election, by choice

(Image: CP24/Screenshot) (Image: CP24/Screenshot)

Doug Ford gathered reporters at city hall today to remove himself from contention in the next provincial election, surprising many who had expected him to run no matter what.

Ford, who is currently a councillor for Etobicoke North, has often mused about getting himself elected to provincial parliament. He has reportedly been interested in Ontario politics since at least 1995, when he managed his father’s successful campaign for MPP under then-PC leader Mike Harris.

Why would Doug set his ambition aside? As he explained it today, it’s all about brotherly loyalty. He’s managing Rob Ford‘s campaign for reelection, and says he can’t allow himself to be distracted from those duties. “The timing right now just doesn’t work,” he told reporters. “I can’t be the campaign manager for my brother. I’d be letting my brother down, I’d be letting our whole team down. I can’t wear two hats.” He didn’t rule out a run during a future provincial election, and he reiterated his intention not to run for reelection to city council.

Most of the mayor’s other senior advisers have either fled his scandal-wracked office or been fired or laid off, and so there’s some truth to the notion that Doug can’t afford to leave. (Even so, the brotherly dynamic between the two Fords has at times been destructive.) When reporters inquired about who else is on the mayor’s campaign team, Doug’s answer was telling: “We have the people on our team,” he said. “We don’t need the establishment and, you know, 200 generals.”

The “establishment,” for what it’s worth, seems to be flocking to potential candidates like John Tory and Olivia Chow, who lack the mayor’s baggage.

There’s a distinct possibility that Doug is only trying to save face. As recently as January, the Globe was reporting that the provincial Conservative caucus had serious doubts about his viability as a candidate. He may have been asked not to run, but there’s no proof that such a request was made.

All of this is supposing that a provincial election happens in the spring as anticipated. As yet, there’s no word on whether that will happen, though it seems like a likelihood.