Post-Tory stress disorder: Toronto’s media finds post-Tory mayoral race confusing

Post-Tory stress disorder: Toronto’s media finds post-Tory mayoral race confusing

We wish we knew how to quit you, John (Image: Ontario Chamber of Commerce)

He never announced his mayoral bid, never campaigned and never did any fundraising, but Toronto sure spent a magical summer mooning over John Tory. Of course, any great summer fling eventually ends in heartbreak, but typically they make it to Labour Day. It would be easy to stick with the breakup metaphors, but the reality is that Toronto’s press and politicos seem less heartbroken and more confused—it’s as if everyone had assumed Tory would jump into the race, despite having said he wouldn’t.

The Globe and Mail sums up the state of the race, now that Tory’s out. There’s not a lot of agreement anywhere:

On fundraising: “John Tory is a formidable fundraiser,” says John Matheson, who is working on Rocco Rossi’s campaign. “That money now, by definition, is free.”…

Fundraisers for the two leading candidates, George Smitherman and Rob Ford, took pains to play down any financial upside of Mr. Tory’s departure.

On voters: “The broad middle is up for grabs,” [former premier David] Peterson said. “John and George would have been in the same space, overlapping into Rocco. The Ford supporters tend to be of a different type. The middle is much broader than the extremes and that’s where John would have been.”…

[Councillor] Gloria Lindsay Luby … says, she’s hearing a lot of “none of the above. People you meet on the street, that you talk to casually, say, ‘I’ve always voted, and this time I’m not going to.’”

So, either there’s a lot of free money lying around, or there’s not. Either there’s a bunch of voters who are now looking for their next champion, or they’re so disenchanted that they’re checking out of the race entirely. How’s that for clarity?

The Globe isn’t alone—Toronto’s other papers are trying to size up the race anew. The Sun is begging candidates to get serious about issues the way Tory is, and the Star direly considers what it will mean if a certain somebody (Rob Ford) wins the election with as little as one third of the vote—a real possibility now that there’s no centrist candidate as broadly respected running for mayor.

Given the ink and pixels being spilled, you’d think something more important than “Man Reiterates 8-Month-Old Position” was the headline, but apparently even when he’s walking away, we just don’t know what to do without John Tory. Maybe the city’s chattering classes shouldn’t have pinned their hopes on a guy who said months ago that he wasn’t running.

• How John Tory’s non-presence affects Toronto’s mayoral race [Globe and Mail]
• Mayoral race, post John Tory [Toronto Star]
• John Tory’s out, who is ready to step up? [Toronto Sun]
• LORINC: John Tory exits stage left [Spacing]