To no one’s surprise, Brad Bradford announced yesterday he is running for Toronto mayor in the June 26 byelection.
Having fuelled speculation for weeks and forming an advisory committee of business and political influencers a month ago, the Beaches-East York councillor confirmed to media yesterday he is in the race to succeed John Tory who stepped down Feb. 17.
“I’m running to be a strong mayor of action for Toronto — delivering results to make the city safer, make life more affordable, and make it easier to get around,” Bradford said in social media posts early on March 29.
Bradford’s use of the phrase “strong mayor” may be a reference to a willingness, if elected, to use the powers recently granted to Toronto’s mayor, allowing the mayor to override city council decision in certain cases.
Bradford was considered an ally of former mayor Tory, who indicated he would use the strong mayor powers if needed.
Toronto ‘at breaking point’
Asked how a Bradford mayoralty would differ from the past regime, Bradford and his spokespeople repeatedly told media yesterday and today it would involve “less talk and more action.”
In a televised interview with Global News this morning said city is “at a breaking point” — increasingly less affordable, less safe, and harder to get around.
He aims to build “a city that’s more affordable, a city that has more housing, a city that actually delivers on the infrastructure projects that we spend way too much time talking about and not enough time building and, of course, a city that is safer for families,” he told Global,
As in all interviews with Bradford and his spokespeople, however, few details were given as to how he could accomplish this apart from presenting him as a mayor who would make decisions and take action.
Bradford was an urban planner both in the private sector and for the City of Toronto, until he ran for council seat in 2018.
He edged out his main opponent in that first election. But in 2022 he won Beaches-East York handily, winning more votes than all other contenders combined.
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Having made affordable housing a priority in his 2022 campaign, he was appointed by Tory to the chair of the affordable planning and housing committee.
Bradford is to file candidacy papers on Monday, the first day nominations officially open.
Also expected on the ballot are more than a dozen other hopefuls who have already declared themselves as mayoral candidates, including Councillor Josh Matlow, former councillors Ana Bailao and Giorgio Mammoliti, former police chief Mark Saunders and urbanist Gil Peñalosa, who was runner-up to John Tory in 2022.
Several other political figures who have not announced yet are also rumoured to be considering a run for the mayor’s job.
The byelection is to be held on June 26 with advance voting from June 8 to June 13.