Olivia Chow to enter Toronto mayoral race Thursday

Chow to enter Toronto mayoral race Thursday.

Craig Robertson/QMI AGENCY

Chow to enter Toronto mayoral race Thursday. Craig Robertson/QMI AGENCY

Don Peat, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:28 PM ET

TORONTO ─ Olivia Chow ─ one of Mayor Rob Ford's biggest challengers ─ will enter the mayor's race Thursday.

A source told QMI Agency that Chow will announce her campaign one day after the Trinity-Spadina MP resigns her seat in the House of Commons.

She will join a crowded field of frontrunners including Ford, John Tory, Karen Stintz and David Soknacki, although Chow appears to be the only NDP candidate taking the field.

Chow's return to municipal politics had been much rumoured in the lead-up to the 2014 election. The left-wing former councillor and widow of former federal NDP leader Jack Layton has done well in the polls against Ford over the past several months while he's battled his crack cocaine scandal.

Although her entry into the race has been predicted for months, Chow had remained coy about whether she would run despite the fact supporters have been preparing the infrastructure of a campaign. This week's announcement comes as she wraps up the book tour for her autobiography, My Journey.

A source close to Chow's campaign speaking on background last month as Stintz and Tory joined the mayor's race was optimistic their candidate would appeal to voters.

Chow organizers believe Tory will appear "too elite and too out of touch" to voters and many, particularly working women, have already left the Ford camp.

The Chow campaign is expected to "lead heavily with her personal story and her personal experience."

"She learned the value of the dollar the hard way and it was a struggle and she takes that same approach to politics," the source said at the time.

Just last week Chow was still refusing to confirm she would run.

"We do need a new mayor, no doubt about that," she said, adding, "I certainly don't want Rob Ford to be a role model for my grandchildren."

On Monday, Ford's campaign manager Coun. Doug Ford dismissed polls showing Chow could beat the mayor on his home turf of Etobicoke.

"I don't know what they've been smoking," he told QMI Agency.


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