Former mayoral candidate Olivia Chow considering another run to become Toronto’s mayor
Published Monday, March 27, 2023 11:33AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 27, 2023 4:52PM EDT
Former councillor Olivia Chow is contemplating another run for mayor of Toronto.
“I want to let you know I am considering running,” Chow told CP24 Monday. “I love this city and I know it can be so much better — for everyone.”
She posted a similar message in a tweet Monday morning.
Chow served as a councillor in Toronto from 1991 to 2005 and then as an NDP member of parliament for Trinity-Spadina from 2006 until 2014.
She ran for mayor in 2014, placing third behind John Tory and Doug Ford.
Speaking with CP24 Monday, Toronto Metropolitan University Professor Myer Siemiatycki said her entry marks a “big development in the race.”
“I think Olivia Chow will be a credible and formidable campaigner,” Siemiatycki said.
The widow of late federal NDP leader Jack Layton, Chow has deep roots with the NDP and could potentially rally the left in the upcoming byelection.
Despite the fact that Chow placed third in her 2014 bid, Siemiatycki said “second chances are possible in Toronto mayoral elections.” He pointed to the fact that John Tory lost a race to David Miller before returning to win the mayor’s office years later and said that if Chow runs, she will likely “take stock of some of the lessons” learned in her previous run.
He said the dynamics of the current race could also work in her favour.
“Even in that campaign (2014), she received about 25 per cent of the vote,” he said. “Given the large number of candidates who will be in this upcoming byelection horse race, 25 per cent could easily be enough of the share of the votes cast to bring them in to win the mayoralty. So I would say she's in a very strong position.”
A crowded field of contenders has emerged to replace former mayor John Tory, with a number of right-leaning and right-of-centre candidates in the race.
However, there are fewer left-leaning candidates with strong name recognition.
Former councillor Mike Layton, Chow’s step-son, has said previously that he will not run.
There has been some speculation that given the crowded field, a strong left-wing candidate might be able to come up the middle in a split-vote situation.
Siemiatycki said that while mayoral candidates typically try to run “big tent” campaigns to appeal to as many types of voters as possible, the crowded field could mean that a candidate who runs a more targeted campaign could be successful.
“This time around, micro-targeting might be the ticket to success and I imagine we are going to see candidates running virtually on single issues or single messages. And it will be interesting to see how Olivia Chow positions herself in this campaign,” Siemiatycki said.
Nominations officially open on April 3 and the vote to choose a new mayor is set to take place on June 26.