Sarah Thomson is running for mayor again, dreadlocks and all

Sarah Thomson is running for mayor again, dreadlocks and all

(Image: Sarah Thomson/Facebook)

This morning, Sarah Thomson pulled up to city hall in a horse-drawn carriage (seriously) and registered to run for mayor for the second time.

For those who may not know, Thomson is the person in the image above. She’s also the person who maintains this odd Tumblr of Toronto subway poetry. And she was also considered a serious contender for the mayoralty less than four years ago.

The relative success of Thomson’s 2010 candidacy was a product of a very strange mayoral campaign. The field of candidates was, in a sense, very narrow, with Rob Ford staking out the hard right and two relatively uninspiring candidates—Joe Pantalone and George Smitherman—vying for the not-Ford vote. The other quirk of that election was that there was only one credible woman on the ballot: Thomson, a previously little-known small businesswoman (she runs the Women’s Post, a freebie newspaper). What started as a long-shot bid gradually became more serious, in part because Thomson was frequently included in debates and covered by the media. She ultimately withdrew from the race, but may have put in a decent showing had she stayed.

For reference, here’s what she looked like at that point in time:

(Image: JoeyS4B)

Within a year after the campaign, she’d burnished her reputation to the point that she was able to come within 1,000 or so votes of winning Trinity-Spadina MPP Rosario Marchese’s seat away from him in the 2011 provincial election. Around then, for some reason, she grew dreadlocks and began cultivating an eccentric presence for herself on social media, and now she’s best known as the woman who wrote a Facebook post in which she accused Rob Ford of grabbing her ass.

It’s foolish to try to predict the outcome of a Toronto mayoral election, but this much seems likely: Thomson is going to have a harder time being taken seriously this time around, and not just because of her choice of hairstyle. For one thing, her campaign executives in the 2010 race were John Tory’s sons, who obviously have their father’s own mayoral bid to think about this time around. For another, Karen Stintz and Olivia Chow are both seriously impressive women with immense political experience. If there was a diversity element to Thomson’s success last time around—that is, if reporters were more inclined to cover her because she was the only woman—it won’t work for her now. Not only is she not unique in the race, she’s utterly outclassed.

In any case, here’s her campaign video, in which she’s interviewed by a small child [UPDATE: It’s her son.]. It may be the last friendly media coverage she gets before October.