Mayoral campaign debtwatch: Rob Ford camp is $800,000 in the hole; “unity” fundraiser underwhelmed so far

Mayoral campaign debtwatch: Rob Ford camp is $800,000 in the hole; “unity” fundraiser underwhelmed so far

After the election was won and done with, we began to learn how much debt the candidates had racked up in their doomed-except-for-Rob Ford race for the mayor’s office. Then came the announcement of a “unity dinner” that was billed as a way for Toronto’s monied crowd (mostly those who know Mike Harris, who is involved in organizing the soirée) to help the candidates retire some of their debt. Just two problems: that unity dinner is having a hard time putting butts in seats, and there’s even more debt than was expected just a few months ago. For Ford alone, the debt is $800,000—that’s $150,000 more than his team guesstimated after election day.

According to the Globe and Mail:

The mayor has raised approximately $400,000, and he’s expected to rake in more at a joint fundraiser with three of his former rivals next Thursday.

But the Harmony Dinner isn’t a sellout: With less than a week to go until the event, organizers have extended the deadline for ticket sales and distributed a cheery group photo of the guests of honour to drum up further interest.

Approximations of the other candidates’ debts break down like this:

If we’ve done our sums right, it means that the amount of debt the Ford campaign discovered between early November and today is about the same as all of the debt left over for the other candidates.

Since Pantalone won’t be participating in the unity dinner because he holds a grudge against Mike Harris, the Ford campaign will need about three times as much financial help from this dinner as the others combined.

There’s probably an analogy waiting to be made about the city’s recent budget chaos and the Ford campaign’s need to be bailed out by wealthy benefactors, but we’d hate to spoil the mood of the party in advance.

• Ford’s campaign debt $150,000 over estimate [Globe and Mail]
• Duelling fundraisers: How the former mayoral rivals are paying their debts [National Post]

(Images: Pantalone,; Rossi, Rocco Rossi; Smitherman, OldTownGuy; Thomson, Joey Schwartz; Ford, Shaun Merritt.)