BLOG: Mayoral race on home stretch with 1 week left
An election official hands back to a voter her marked ballot to place in a ballot box. (The Canadian Press/Chris Young)
George Hoff, elections producer, CP24.com
Published Monday, October 20, 2014 9:27PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 20, 2014 9:28PM EDT
There’s only a week to go in the Greater Toronto Area’s municipal election campaigns. In Toronto there are a handful of important debates left that will give voters a last chance to grade the candidates for mayor.
John Tory will try to hold off the last barrage of attacks he can surely expect from Doug Ford and Olivia Chow. In turn, Ford and Chow will be looking for Tory to wilt under their pressure and make a mistake that will provide an opening to grab some of Tory’s support and close the gap. For the most part each candidate has now put the policies are out there, their campaign lines are well-rehearsed lines and will be repeated either in the debates, on media interviews or at campaign stops across the city. There will be more polls that each campaign will have to manage. There will be a final push with ads on TV and radio and there will be a last-minute flurry of volunteer activity to knock on doors and get signs up on any lawn in the city still available. On top of that Tory, Ford and Chow have all committed to releasing their list of donors in the campaign. Those lists are sure to grab the attention of the media.
Another debate this evening reflected the sense of honing the message and getting it out to the audience. Chow tried to distinguish her position as the only one with a fully-costed platform that puts the people of Toronto first. Tory put forward his case as the leader who can bring the city together and end the divisiveness of the last four years at city hall. Ford called Toronto the best city in the world and then attacked Tory for what Ford called his “BackTrack” plan and ended with the advertising phrase of his campaign, “What’s the story Mr. Tory?” And that was just in the first ten minutes of the session. As expected during the 90-minute debate, Ford kept turning to Tory trying to put doubt in voters’ minds about Tory. Ford kept asking Tory if he would raise taxes and put down the Tory transit plan. In her closing statement, Chow she said her platform is “about building hope in the neighborhood.” Her remarks drew a sustained round of applause.
Tuesday will see two more debates, one in the morning and another in the evening. The three main candidates are confirmed for the morning debate and both Tory and Chow confirmed today they will be at the second debate. In between, the candidates will hit radio stations and the street to find the votes each needs to try to win the prize – mayor of Toronto.
Today we got the final advance poll tally for Toronto and the turnout was impressive. The advance poll more than doubled over 2010 with 161,147 voters making it to the polling station in each riding or at city hall. The campaigns will be looking at the ward by ward advance poll breakdowns trying to read the totals like so many tea leaves of what it might mean for next Monday night - probably not much. Tory noted the high turnout tonight and hoped it would bode well on election day. Now the campaigns will focus more and more on making sure their supporters get out and vote next Monday. Just over 50 per cent voted in 2014 and that was a huge jump over the 39 per cent that took the time in 2006.