Anyone-but-Ford movement gathers steam: Joe Mihevc jumps off Pantalone’s ship and onto the deck of the S.S. Smitherman

Anyone-but-Ford movement gathers steam: Joe Mihevc jumps off Pantalone’s ship and onto the deck of the S.S. Smitherman

Joe Mihevc gives the thumbs-up to Smitherman

As the early polls opened today, Sarah Thomson made good on her endorsement of George Smitherman and cast her early ballot for the candidate she hopes can beat Rob Ford in the mayoral election. But that’s not the only news in the anyone-but-Ford movement. Team Smitherman got an extra boost this afternoon when TTC vice-chair Joe Mihevc announced that he is endorsing Smitherman. And, as it was with Thomson’s endorsement, the shadow of Ford looms large over this one.

From Mihevc’s press release:

I know some residents are supporting Joe Pantalone. I do feel that Joe would make a fine mayor and that he has the skills, smarts, and experience to lead the city. The stars, however, have not aligned for Joe as revealed in the polls.   Given the strength of Rob Ford in the same polls, and given the need to have all hands on deck to defeat him, I believe that this is a time for Torontonians to rally around a single candidate who has the best chance of defeating Ford. Joe Pantalone’s standing in the polls requires us to look elsewhere. To say this frankly is very difficult for me as I have known and worked with Joe for 20 years and can affirm that he is a person of integrity and that his work has really built the city. It is not Joe’s moment right now and he is not in a position to defeat Ford. Thus people of good will who are committed to community values have to speak up and act in a very pragmatic way.

I have known George Smitherman for over a decade and do believe that he has the skill set needed to make a good mayor. Further and key to my position, he is in the best position to win.

Mihevc goes on to say that his endorsement of Smitherman in no way means he agrees with everything in Smitherman’s platform, but that he agrees with enough of it to make this thing work between them.

With Smitherman collecting endorsements from the left and right, it looks like the anyone-but-Ford train is leaving the station. Mike Smith, spokesperson for the Pantalone campaign, wasn’t surprised by the endorsement, even though Mihevc was making encouraging noises as recently as August.

One poll can lie, but so far none of the polls have showed Pantalone in anything but third, and most of them a distant third at that. Add to that the report from the National Post that John Tory’s two sons, who both worked for the Thomson campaign, will be endorsing Smitherman tomorrow, and suddenly things start to look pretty tense for the Rocco Rossi and Pantalone campaigns.

The thing about these kinds of strategic voting campaigns is that they can backfire. Apparently Doug Holyday is trying to revive the anyone-but-Smitherman dynamic of the early campaign. Good luck with that.

• First votes cast in Toronto election [Toronto Star]
• Mihevc Press Release [Re-elect Joe Mihevc]
• For Doug Holyday, it’s “anybody but Smitherman” [Toronto Star]