One hour before the deadline for finalizing the candidates in the Toronto mayoral race, Rob Ford has withdrawn his candidacy, and Doug Ford has stepped in to take his place.
Rob Ford will instead be running in Ward 2, where his nephew Michael Ford was running. Michael Ford has also withdrawn his nomination as councillor for Ward 2, and is now running for school trustee of Ward 1.
Rob Ford represented Ward 2 (Etobicoke North) as a councillor, for 10 years. He could very possibly win there from a hospital bed.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) September 12, 2014
Jeff Silverstein, communications director for Ford, arrived at city hall to file papers for Doug Ford to be mayor, but media reported that those papers were not initially in order.
Silverstein doesn't seem to have the paperwork in order to register Doug for mayor.— Jonathan Goldsbie (@goldsbie) September 12, 2014
Shortly after, Silverstein returned and filed the completed papers, according to local media watching the event unfold:
BREAKING: Papers being filed for Councillor Doug Ford, Mayor Rob Ford's brother, to run for mayor in his place.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) September 12, 2014
His candidacy was officially confirmed on the City of Toronto election website as one of the 66 candidates running for mayor at 1:20 p.m.
Rob Ford issued a statement from his hospital room in support of his brother running for mayor:
I was not alone in this, my big brother Doug was by my side, sharing my vision, fighting for the great people of Toronto. I never could have accomplished what we did without him.
Doug loves our city as much as I do. He believes that standing up for the average person and watching the bottom line are what matters most at City Hall.
Doug also believes in standing up for his family no matter what. His loyalty and willingness to be there for anyone, anytime is just who he is.
I’ve asked Doug to finish what we started together, so that all we’ve accomplished isn’t washed away.
I have asked Doug to run to become the next Mayor of Toronto, because we need him. We cannot go backwards.
Ford also said that it was an honour and priviledge to have served the city as mayor, and wished anyone else facing a serious health challenge strength and courage.
Rob Ford will remain mayor of Toronto until November 30, and his successor is sworn in the following day.
Doug Ford told the Toronto Sun earlier on Friday that the mayor could be facing "a surgery and chemotherapy and could be on his back for six to eight weeks."
At the time, Doug Ford said that a decision had not yet been made, and that the family was consulting with doctors to determine the best course of action.
Rob Ford was admitted to hospital earlier this week after he reported severe abdominal pain. It was confirmed as a tumour, and Ford is currently undergoing a biopsy to see if the tumour is cancerous. The results of that biopsy are expected next week.
Discovery of the tumour came just over two months after Ford returned to office from a stint in rehab that followed a scandal-plagued year in which he was forced to admit to using crack cocaine in a "drunken stupor," was caught on video and audio recordings in profanity-laced rants, and became the target of an ongoing police investigation.
One of the Fords' chief rivals in the mayoral race, John Tory, suggested that the Ford swap is fairly significant. "I don't think Doug Ford offers Toronto more of the same," he said. "In fact, he may offer Toronto something that is worse."
And of course, Doug's entrance to the mayoral race led to a predictable torrent of jokes and ridicule on Twitter:
Hmmm …. this Doug Ford photo is suddenly eerily appropriate. pic.twitter.com/ZU3WWfH3I9— Thomas Bink (@thomasbink) September 12, 2014
Rob Ford is Ward 2 candidate. Doug Ford is mayoral candidate. Mike Ford is not a candidate. Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones.— Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt) September 12, 2014
Doug Ford is expected to address the media at 7 p.m. EST.
With files from CBC, The Canadian Press