What the hell just happened?! A blow-by-blow of the Rob Ford mayoralty’s craziest morning yet

What the hell just happened?! A blow-by-blow of the Rob Ford mayoralty’s craziest morning yet

Some of the candidates officially running for mayor as of 2 p.m. today. Out: Rob Ford. In: Doug.

At the start of the day, there were two Fords running for two different municipal offices. Now, after a frantic few hours of some of the most dramatic paperwork action city hall has ever seen, there are three Fords on various ballots, and none of them are running for what they used to be running for. Somehow, during all of this, almost as an afterthought, Rob Ford‘s unbelievable fiasco of a mayoralty gained a definite expiration date.

How did all of this happen? Here, our attempt to put the day’s baffling series of events in chronological order.

11:00 a.m. – Doug Ford arrives at Mount Sinai Hospital, where the mayor was transferred on Thursday afternoon for treatment and tests related to his tumour diagnosis. Doug doesn’t say anything of note to the reporters who are there waiting for him.

11:00 a.m. (also) — The Toronto Sun publishes an article in which Joe Warmington hints at what’s about to unfold. In the piece, Warmington quotes Doug nixing the idea of putting his name on the mayoral ballot alongside Rob’s, because “it would be too confusing.” The implication is clear: if Rob withdraws, Doug is in.

12:35 p.m. — Doug arrives at city hall from Mount Sinai. With him are Dan Jacobs, the mayor’s chief of staff; Jeff Silverstein, the mayor’s campaign spokesperson; and Michael Ford, the 20-year-old Ford nephew who is running for Rob’s old council seat in Ward 2.

12:50 p.m. — Jeff Silverstein enters city hall’s elections office with some papers in his hand. He files them with a clerk, and reporters quickly figure out what’s happening: Rob has officially withdrawn from the mayoral race, meaning he won’t appear on the ballot and will definitely, barring an act of God, be leaving office in two months so the next mayor can take over. Michael, it turns out, is likewise removing himself from the ballot in Ward 2. At the same time, Silverstein attempts to register Doug, who wasn’t previously running for any office, as a mayoral candidate.

1:00 p.m. — But it turns out there’s a problem with Doug’s paperwork, which is interesting, because the final deadline for nominations happens to be at 2 p.m. The Fords only have an hour to resolve the problem.

1:15 p.m. — After a few minutes during which it seems possible that the 2014 election will go forward with no Fords on any ballots, the clerk finally deems Doug’s paperwork acceptable, making him an official mayoral candidate.

1:25 p.m. — Reporters learn that Rob has registered to run in Ward 2, essentially as a replacement for his nephew Michael.

1:30 p.m. – Doug Ford gets his first endorsement. It comes from councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, a notorious oddball who is currently fighting for his political life in Ward 7 after being caught taking a whole bunch of inappropriate payments from lobbyists.

1:30 p.m. — Rob Ford issues a written statement in which he tries to explain why he’s healthy enough to run for council, but not for the mayoralty (“while I’m unable to commit to the heavy schedule required for a Mayoral candidate I will not turn my back on Ward 2”). He throws his support behind Doug, a move he says will ensure that “all we’ve accomplished together isn’t washed away.”

1:45 p.m. — And then reporters learn that Michael has registered to run for school board trustee, meaning at the end of the day there will actually be one more Ford running for office than there was at the start. The Ford shuffle is complete.