Meanwhile, John Tory searches for the path to victory. Does it exist?
It's not clear to his strategists, including one-time Ford heavy hitters and at least one prominent Conservative number cruncher. They're going through polls with a fine-tooth comb to figure this out.
Not an easy task for a guy who's wearing the "three-time-loser" label on his forehead owing to his hat trick of election defeats. And every day he waits, questions about his indecisiveness grow.
Don't hold your breath. If the ex-PC-leader-turned-radio-talk-show-host is getting into the mayoral race - and it looks like he will - it probably won't be till after a widely expected provincial election in the spring, in which future public transit and how we pay for it will be a huge issue if the Toronto and Region Board of Trade has anything to say about it, a plus for Tory's business backers.
But if the Libs can't sell dedicated revenue tools to the electorate in the face of populist PC and NDP opposition, then what? Tory's prospects dim considerably, his cred as a bottom-line conservative taking a hit. As the former head of CivicAction, Tory's been an active promoter of a designated taxes to pay for transit. TBoT may be on board with that, but the hardcore Fordists Tory needs to attract to take him over the top in 2014 may read it as just another tax-and-spend liberal move - small-l in his case.
Stintz: 2014's Susan fish?
If Tory's playing the long game, Karen Stintz has no such option now that the other conservative in the race, former Scarborough councillor David Soknacki, is taking clear aim at her reversal on the LRT in favour of a subway extension in Scarborough. Soknacki promises to undo the deal if he wins.
The Liberal crew around Stintz who helped choreograph Dalton McGuinty's election wins, Don Guy and David Gene, figure there's still time.
There's a base to work from. Stintz's early numbers are respectable, consistently hovering in the mid-teens. But the TTC chair's public absence during the ice storm was a missed opportunity to grow support.
It's early, but there's a pall hanging over Stintz: that she may be 2014's Susan Fish, the Red Tory who was forced to drop out of the 1991 mayoral contest for lack of resources after the business and development community put their money on eventual winner June Rowlands.
Back then it was to stop a guy named Jack Layton from becoming mayor. This time it may be the late NDP leader's wife, Olivia Chow. Talk about synchronicity.