Rob Ford still wants to be mayor of Toronto. Appearing before reporters Monday after two months of rehab, looking thinner and speaking of the ills of substance abuse, Ford kept his election promises close at hand.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Ford told the invitation-only crowd of media:
“Like a lot of people dealing with substance abuse I was in complete denial. I had convinced myself that I did not have a problem. But it soon became obvious that my alcohol and drug abuse was having a serious, serious impact on my family, and on my health and on my job as mayor.”
Ford entered rehab at the end of April after several well-publicized incidents of public intoxication, videotaped drug use and vulgar language.
But the next thing on Rob Ford’s mind is keeping his job as an elected official. As Time recounts, Ford had most of his mayoral duties stripped by Toronto city council after the revelations came to light, but he retains the title of mayor. He is currently in a race for re-election – Torontonians go to the polls October 27th.
Among Rob Ford’s most notorious media appearances was an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where the host seemed to give the mayor a subtle intervention by confronting him with his past behavior. Kimmel did not pass up the opportunity to discuss Ford’s return on his broadcast Monday night, teasing the mayor about his apparent weight loss – saying perhaps he’d gone “into the woods to give birth to a horse.” Kimmel also said “we’ll keep our fingers crossed” and extended Ford congratulations.
The mayoral race may be a tough one for Ford, as he faces formidable challenges from Olivia Chow and John Tory. In a Forum Research poll published on June 24, Chow led the poll at 34 percent. Ford was in second spot, at 27 percent. Tory polled at 24 percent and the final two candidates, David Soknacki and Karen Stintz, got 6 and 3 percent, respectively. The same poll of 890 Toronto voters gave Ford a 32 percent approval rating. Ford has the lowest approval rating of all five candidates.
Notably, Ford had made offensive statements about Stintz in an audio recording that surfaced before Ford went to rehab. Ford apologized to her directly in his Monday press conference.
Whether it’s enough to keep Ford in the mayor’s chair remains to be seen. Ford’s brother, campaign manager and member of Toronto city council Doug Ford, told CBC today that rehab worked: “He’s had a real eye-opener on life and self and things that may have triggered his addiction before. It’s going to be a new Rob Ford.”
[Image: The Canadian Press/Darren Calabrese]