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In a press conference this morning Karen Stintz announced that she will no longer be running to be mayor of Toronto. A city mourns, but like the departure of all politicians, it will quickly make way for endless speculation as to their replacement.

Stintz was to be Toronto’s guiding light towards salvation. When she entered the race, she was running on bona fide credentials. She was a City Councillor from 2003 to 2010, doing incredible work in her ward. After garnering 17% in the 2010 Toronto mayoral election, she became Chair of the TTC until last February, where she pretty much made the crosstown LRT line happen. Everything was in place when she registered to run in February, except that a man named John Tory did so on the same day, on a very similar platform.

 

Like all people whose fortunes John Tory has destroyed, she isn't that much worse off, just enough to make you sadRick Madonik/Toronto Star

Like all fortunes John Tory has destroyed, he didn’t make her significantly worse off. Just enough to ensure she had no shot.
Rick Madonik/Toronto Star

 

Now for months she’s languished with a small share of the vote, far and away from the big 3, Ford, Chow, and Tory, despite transit being the #1 issue at the debates.

The real question is now, who will replace her? On the panel we have Rob Ford, the blue collar people’s man, John Tory, the rich white conservative, Olivia Chow, the kind-of-centre-left woman/minority, and David Soknacki, the strange academic that seems kind of aloof. Karen Stintz filled a valuable role as the experienced no-nonsense straight-talker. It’s a role that Rob Ford would easily fill if not for the nonsense and the lack of experience.

If the debates shift to only those four, we’ll be missing someone who can call out everyone else on their nonsense. That would be regrettable, because their is so much to call out in the debates. The next two contendors, placing 6th and 7th (now 5th and 6th) are Sarah Thomson and Ari Goldkind. Thomson claims to have invented the idea of attaching convenience stores to gas stations, and was a millionaire by the time she was 25. She’s also taken to showing up at events on horseback, but that’s just because she’s really cool.

Goldkind, however, is a public defender who has been running a policy-focused campaign. He’s put forward a detailed platform with solutions and funding structures on just about every issue, and looks like someone running a serious campaign (in stark contract to Ford, Chow, and Tory). He’s already announced that he wants Stintz’s spot, and he could easily be the candidate to fill that hole.

 

With the election just over two months away, anything can still happen, and a new contender could drastically alter the current format we all know and hate. For Stintz, she hasn’t yet said who she’s endorsing or where she plans on going afterwards, but if we’re only left with the other four in the debates, we’ll all feel the loss.