Two names with experience at city hall are seriously considering throwing their hats in the ring to become the next mayor of Toronto.
In a statement released Tuesday, Coun. Brad Bradford said that he has assembled an exploratory committee with more than a dozen advisors. They include Conservative political strategist Kory Teneycke, Navigator executive Jamie Watt, former councillor and TTC Chair Karen Stintz and Liberal strategist Bob Lopinski.
“There’s a lot of belief that Toronto needs strong, decisive leadership right now,” Bradford told CP24 in an interview. “It’s an opportunity for generational change and a new chapter in Toronto and somebody who has the energy and the enthusiasm to tackle the big issues.”
Separately on Tuesday, former councillor Ana Bailão told CP24 that she is also eyeing a possible run.
“I’m strongly considering it,” she said. “I’m having lots of conversations with Torontonians from the four corners of the city, people across the political spectrum, colleagues, former colleagues as well as you know, just making sure that that those conversations happen so we can put forward the ideas that Torontonians really see themselves in.”
While she just stepped away from city hall months ago, Bailão said she remains “passionate” about Toronto and sees a number of areas where things could be better. She pointed to the lack of availability of cell phone service on the subways system and said housing would also be a strong focus for her.
“One of the things that I’ve been hearing a lot as I’m having conversations with Torontonians is they want services, they want better services,” she said. “They understand they’re paying their taxes, but they don’t feel like the services are up to standard.”
Both Bradford and Bailão are considered centrists who were aligned with John Tory when he was mayor.
Bradford, the councillor for Beaches East York, was just elected to a second term as councillor. Bailão served as the Davenport councillor for 10 years from 2010 to 2022 and spent four of them as deputy mayor under Tory.
Yet another former councillor announced he was entering the race Tuesday. Rob Davis, who served as a councillor in the former city of York and on Toronto City Council after amalgamation, told CP24 he will definitely be running.
“I think there’s a bit of a malaise in the city people are concerned about decisions that council has made that are negatively impacting them,” he said.
He said that delivering good value for money to taxpayers would be one of his top priorities and pointed to plans to rename Dundas Street as an example of something most Torontonians don’t want to spend millions of dollars on.
City council has not yet formally declared the mayor’s seat to be vacant, but the city clerk has set a byelection date of June 26 and candidates have until May 12 to file nomination papers to run.
The doors to the mayor’s office were flung wide-open after John Tory revealed several weeks ago that he had had an affair with a staffer in his office and said that he would be stepping down in order to focus on his family.
Tory’s last day on the job was Feb. 17. Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie has since assumed some of his powers and duties and will carry them out until a new mayor takes office. She has said she will not run to become mayor herself.
Former Toronto police chief Mark Saunders has also said that he is exploring a run for the mayor’s chair, as has Scarborough-Guildwood MPP Mitzie Hunter. Urbanist Gil Penalosa, who ran against Tory and came a distant second a few months ago has said he will run again.
The nomination period is expected to begin April 3, pending city council’s approval.