It was his first time speaking to the press as a mayoral candidate but Doug Ford, flanked by family outside his mother’s home, used the moment to pay an emotional tribute to his ailing brother, recounting how it came to be that his name would be on the ballot instead of Mayor Rob Ford.

“He wanted me to make sure people know how much he cares and that this is more than a job -- it is his life’s work,” Doug Ford said, his voice cracking. “He said he needed me to take the torch while he focuses on getting better. He told me that he couldn’t bear the thought of returning to the old days at the expense of the everyday good people.”

Ford said it took him some time before he agreed. The councillor has said in the past he wanted out of municipal politics. His plan after the election was to go back and run the family business, Deco Labels.

“I told him he needed to think about this. I wanted to ease his mind but I told him that no one could ever replace him.  He said, ‘Doug, we have always been an unstoppable team, and just because I have to sit this one out, doesn’t mean that changes.”

That conversation is apparently what led to a mad rush in the hour before today’s 2 p.m. deadline to file for candidacy.

Doug Ford refused to answer reporters’ questions as he publicly filed his nomination papers Friday afternoon, choosing instead to speak with the media at 7 p.m., hours after spending time with Rob Ford in hospital and his family at his mother’s Etobicoke home.

The Etobicoke councillor made it clear from the start that the Ford family is united in this latest chapter of their political saga, stepping up to the podium with his wife, children, mother and extended family by his side.

In fact, he ended the news conference by telling reporters he would not speak about the campaign until Monday and that he needed a “few days” with his family to deal with the uncertainty around the mayor’s health.

"My thoughts, feelings right now are with Rob and his entire family,” he said. “As you can imagine I'm not in full campaign mode but I assure you I will be."

Ford flatly denied his candidacy has always been the contingency plan in the brothers’ campaign strategy.  The websites and were registered in March and May respectively. Rob Ford took a leave of absence on April 30 to attend rehab for his substance abuse issues.

“Rob was running for mayor up to 24 hours ago, maybe a little longer,” he told reporters. “This was never in the works. I worked 18 hours a day around the clock to make sure Rob continued with great success in the prosperity that this city has seen in the last four years and I planned to do that until he got elected. Unfortunately things change rapidly in life and things have taken a turn on us.”