Toronto Elections: Will John Tory’s endorsement make a difference?

Toronto mayoral candidate Ana Bailão received a much-sought endorsement Wednesday from former mayor John Tory, but pundits and political observers say it might not necessarily be the make-or-break advantage she hopes it will be.

With voters going to the polls days away in a special by-election to replace him, Tory said his former deputy mayor and council ally Bailão is the one for the job. In a video of approximately six minutes, Tory said that Bailão will fix housing, traffic and many other problems.

While the endorsement of the popular former mayor who resigned just a few months ago is the highlight of the race, it certainly hasn’t been the only one.

Nine sitting councilors have said they support Bailão, while six support Olivia Chow and one supports Mark Saunders. Seven councilors have not said who they support.

But while candidates may trumpet those endorsements, it’s not clear if they necessarily translate into votes.

“I think it always helps to have people on your side and supporting you, but whether that’s really driving people’s voting decisions is really an open question here,” Professor Matti Siemiatycki, director of the UofT Institute for Infrastructure and a professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, told

While a recent Mainstreet Research poll indicated that candidate support was higher in areas where there has been support for that candidate, it’s hard to know if it’s higher because of support or if the councilman in that area is simply reflecting what their constituents already are. sentiment in terms of choice of candidates.

“It’s about whether it’s really shaping voter intent,” Siemiatycki said.

Those with campaign experience say endorsements sound great, but their importance is overblown.

“I have been involved in politics for a long, long time. I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a campaign where an endorsement has really made a difference,” CTV political commentator Scott Reid told CP24 on Wednesday. “They are the fool’s gold of the elections. They get a lot of attention, but they usually have very little value.”

Political strategist Kim Wright issued a similar note.

“Ultimately, endorsements are for money, impulse or manpower. Those are the three things they come for,” Wright told CP24.

She said the same is true even for a big endorser like John Tory, adding that her endorsement of Bailão would have been more useful early in the campaign before early voting if it had made a difference.

Wright also noted that Tory’s endorsement last fall was not enough to seal victory for some of the council candidates he endorsed.

“While it’s great to get an endorsement, it’s much better than no endorsement, the campaigns he endorsed in the last election didn’t win,” Wright said. “He brought no new blood to the council on its coattails.”

Many of the new faces who came to the council after beating Conservative-backed candidates have in fact thrown their support behind Chow. That includes Davenport County. Alejandra Bravo, who won the old Bailão seat in the fall.

Regardless of whether the endorsements are effective for the candidates, one might wonder if they will contribute to more fractured politics after the race.

But while the council may appear to be divided, with groups of councilors backing different candidates, Siemiatycki says most of them will likely be motivated to work with whoever gets in once the dust settles on the election.

“I think they’re moving pretty quickly, actually,” he said. “I think it’s probably because there are so many new issues that they have to deal with and each one of them is trying to negotiate the best position for themselves and their constituents.”

He said that the fact that municipal politics does not work in a party system is useful in that sense.

“In the city council, loyalties change according to the problems. It’s not party based, right. It’s much more individual and much more negotiated that way.”

Whoever wins the mayoral race will also have a number of tools at their disposal to attract council members. They include committee appointments and stronger powers that give them more control over the budget.

“Once the election is over,” Siemiatycki says, “then it’s time to get down to business.


Ana Bailao

Paul Ainslie

Shelley Carroll

Frances Nunziata

jennifer mckelvie

nick throw blankets

chris moises

james pasternak

michael thompson

vincent crisanti

brad bradford

The same

olivia chow

ausma malik

amber morley

jamaal myers

Gord Benefits

alejandra bravo

paula flcher

joseph matlow

The same

mark saunders

Stephen vacation

None – Councilors who are not declared or have said that they are not supporting anyone

jon burnt

Lily Cheng

mike colle

gary crawford

jay robinson

Diana Saxe

Leave a Comment