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Toronto elects new moderate mayor, ending scandal-ridden Ford era

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TORONTO — Toronto elected a moderate conservative as mayor on Monday, ending the Rob Ford era marked by scandals over his illegal drug use and public drunkenness.

John Tory, a former chief executive of major cable company Rogers Communications, had 40 percent of the vote, compared to 34 percent for Doug Ford, brother of outgoing Mayor Rob Ford. Left-leaning Olivia Chow was third with nearly 23 percent, with nearly 100 percent of polling stations reporting.

"The people have spoken and tonight we begin the work of building one Toronto," Tory told cheering supporters. "Torontonians want to see an end to the divisions that have paralyzed city hall for the last few years. I hear you."

Rob Ford's four-year tenure as mayor of Canada's largest city was marred by his drinking and crack cocaine use. He announced last month that he wouldn't seek re-election as he battles a rare form of cancer. His brother, a city councilor, ran in his place.

Doug Ford's supporters booed when he congratulated Tory on his victory. Doug Ford later said the scandals played a part in the loss but said he was "super proud" of his brother.

"I still believe he's the best mayor ever," Doug Ford said.

However, Rob Ford will not disappear from Toronto politics anytime soon.

Despite the cancer, he opted to seek the City Council seat held by his brother from the Etobicoke district in western Toronto where he launched his political career. He won his old seat in a landslide Monday and strongly hinted he may seek to run for mayor again in four years.

"In four more years, you're going to see another example of the Ford family never, ever, ever giving up," he said.

PHOTO: FILE - In this July 9, 2014 file photo, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford leaves his office at city hall to take part in a vote. Voters head to the polls Monday to elect a successor to Rob Ford, who announced in September that he would not seek re-election as he battles a rare and difficult form of cancer. His brother, city councilor Doug Ford, is running in his place but is widely expected to lose to John Tory, a wealthy, straight-laced moderate conservative who stands in contrast to the pugnacious, populist Ford brothers.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young, File)
FILE - In this July 9, 2014 file photo, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford leaves his office at city hall to take part in a vote. Voters head to the polls Monday to elect a successor to Rob Ford, who announced in September that he would not seek re-election as he battles a rare and difficult form of cancer. His brother, city councilor Doug Ford, is running in his place but is widely expected to lose to John Tory, a wealthy, straight-laced moderate conservative who stands in contrast to the pugnacious, populist Ford brothers. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young, File)

After months of denials, Rob Ford in 2013 acknowledged he had smoked crack cocaine in one of his "drunken stupors," but he refused to resign. The City Council stripped Ford of most of his powers but lacked the authority to force him out of office because he wasn't convicted of a crime.

Ford announced he was entering rehab for drugs and alcohol in April 2014 after newspaper reports detailed three nights in which he was extremely intoxicated. One report was about a video that appeared to show him smoking a crack pipe again — nearly a year after reports of a similar video first brought international attention.

Rob Ford's antics made him the target of late-night television comedians in the U.S. Last March, he appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" after months of wooing by the talk-show host, who introduced his guest by saying he "has tripped, bumped, danced, argued and smoked his way into our national consciousness."

When Ford was elected mayor in 2010, his drug and alcohol use weren't known — but his bluster was. A plurality of voters backed him, eager to shake things up at a City Hall they viewed as elitist and wasteful. Ford's voter base resided mainly in those outer suburbs like Etobicoke. He appealed to those residents with his populist, common man touch and with promises to slash spending, cut taxes and end what he called "the war on the car."

He first won as mayor by promising to "stop the gravy train" of government spending. But Toronto got more turmoil than expected.

Tory, 60, a longtime moderate conservative politician and adviser, has also served as commissioner of the Canadian Football League and more recently hosted a radio talk show. He ran for mayor in 2003 and lost.

Tory has promised to end the circus at City Hall and to get people moving with a new public transit plan.

"I will be a balanced and accountable leader," Tory said.

Nelson Wiseman, a University of Toronto political science professor, said Toronto municipal politics will unlikely be international news with Tory as mayor.

"Personality wise they are mirror opposites but anybody is dull compared to Rob Ford," Wiseman said. "It's been an outrageously entertaining circus. Alas the curtain has come down."

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PHOTO: John Tory, right, receives a kiss from his wife Barbra Hackett after winning the election and becoming the new mayor of the City of Toronto in Toronto on Monday, October 27, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)
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