Shocker! Jack Layton endorses Joe Pantalone

Shocker! Jack Layton endorses Joe Pantalone

Jack Layton is pro-Pants (Image: Dave Cournoyer) 

We don’t imagine there were that many NDP voters in the city who were wondering which candidate, exactly, was the left-most choice in the race. We’ve got Rocco Rossi and George Smitherman, two avowed Liberals; Sarah Thomson, centre-right and kind of a cipher; Rob Ford, über-conservative, with support from Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak; and then lifetime NDP member Joe Pantalone. Jack Layton became the latest member from a higher level of government to wade into the city election when he endorsed Pantalone at city hall this morning, shocking exactly no one.

The Toronto Sun has the story:

“Mr. Layton will speak to those gathered about why Joe is the only candidate with a real vision for a strong, sustainable, inclusive Toronto, and the only one with the experience to make sure it unfolds,” a press release from the Pantalone campaign stated.

In the same release, Pantalone admitted he used to disagree often with Layton when he was on council.

“But our small disagreements were driven by passion for our greater agreement: Toronto must be a city for everyone,” Pantalone stated. “I’m proud to have him join me once again in pushing for that vision.”

Amusingly, the Globe says the federal NDP has no intention of following Dalton McGuinty‘s lead of interfering in a local election, which could be confusing now that the federal NDP leader is endorsing a mayoral candidate.

With Pantalone’s weak showing (behind Thomson now, who was a non-entity at the beginning of this race), it’s likely that he is or will soon be getting the kind of advice Rossi is rumored to be getting: drop out of the race and hope your voters go to Smitherman. (Rossi, for his part, reiterated yesterday that he’s not quitting the race.) If Pantalone is soliciting endorsements like this, he’s showing that he’s probably not ready to drop out yet, either.

Between this and the Rossi campaign shuffle two days ago, it looks like the two trailing candidates who could help Smitherman’s numbers are digging in, making the phrase “Mayor Rob Ford” sound ever more likely.

Joe Pants gets nod from Layton [Toronto Sun]
• Layton backs Pantalone in run for mayor [CP24]
• NDP leader Jack Layton endorses Joe Pantalone [Toronto Star]
Layton endorses Pantalone [Globe and Mail]