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2003 Toronto election

The 2003 Toronto election was held on November 10, 2003. David Miller was elected mayor (Results of 2003 Toronto election). Toronto is just one of most Ontario municipalities to hold elections. See also 2003 Ontario municipal elections

Mayoral Contest

Current Toronto mayor Mel Lastman chose not to run in this election. A large number of candidates ran for the position of mayor, but four main candidates emerged.

The campaign began with Barbara Hall far in the lead. She had wide name recognition and attracted moderate support from across Toronto. She also had close links with the newly elected Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty. John Tory and David Miller were closely tied for a distant second, while John Nunziata was in last place, among the major candidates.

Hall quickly began to hemorrhage support, however. Miller's message about the island airport resonated with many voters and he vaulted into first place, to the surprise of many. Tory's support also began to grow steadily as Hall's eroded. The race had become essentially two way contest between Tory and Miller. Miller was attacked by all candidates for musing about tolls on roads leading into Toronto, but this did not seem to reduce his support.

John Nunziata, long not considered a plausible contender, dropped a bombshell on the media when it he announced that members of Tory's camp offered him $150,000 and the Deputy Mayor's position if he were to drop out of the race. Nunziata refused to release specifics, however, and a police investigation found no wrongdoing. Tory in fact received a boost in the polls for his promise to drop out of the campaign if any wrong-doing had been discovered.

Tom Jakobek gathered much media attention at the start, and was invited to various debates, but was quickly distanced from the front-runner race when the vote neared. Jakobek's campaign was hampered by his connection to recent municipal mismanagement, and admissions that he had lied about accepting gifts from people pursuing business with the city.

City Council

Most incumbent city councillors were re-elected. A prominent exception was Anne Johnston, the longest-serving member of city council. She lost her seat in Ward 16, apparently because of her approval of a controversial residential tower development in an adjoining ward. The council elections saw one of the highest rates of turnover in recent history. While only four incumbents lost their seats, many long standing councillors decided not to run for reelection. Of the 44 city councillors 14 are newcomers. The election saw the council become more leftist, which should aid mayor Miller.