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Scandal-plagued Toronto mayor launches re-election campaign

Toronto mayor Rob Ford arrives with his wife Renata at the public memorial for police constable John Zivcic in Toronto December 9, 2013. REU
Toronto mayor Rob Ford arrives with his wife Renata at the public memorial for police constable John Zivcic in Toronto December 9, 2013. REU

By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who won global ridicule last year after admitting to having used crack cocaine, registered on Thursday for the October mayoral election, saying he was the best mayor Canada's largest city has ever had and would be re-elected.

Ford, who last year admitted that he smoked crack while in a "drunken stupor," purchased illegal drugs while in office and drove after drinking, said his slogan will be "Ford more years."

He is the first candidate to register for the October 27 election and is expected to be opposed on both sides of the political spectrum.

"My track record speaks for itself," Ford told reporters as he registered for re-election at city hall, according to local media reports. "If you want to get personal, that's fine. I'm sticking to my record, and talk is cheap. You're going to see action like you've never seen before."

Ford, who came to power in 2010 on a platform of cost-cutting and low taxes, has billed himself as a champion of taxpayers and ordinary people. But he has been criticized for public drunkenness and personal attacks on political opponents, the city's police chief and journalists.

The revelations about Ford began in May when two media outlets said they had seen video of him smoking from what appeared to be a crack pipe.

He initially said he did not smoke crack cocaine, before admitting in November that he had done so. The revelation and his decision to remain in office drew ridicule from late-night TV humorists.

Ford was stripped of most of his mayoral duties in November after the Toronto city council voted to transfer most of his powers and budget to the deputy mayor. Supporters and opponents alike have urged him to enter rehab, but Ford has insisted he is not an addict.

A poll in November showed 42 percent of Toronto voters approved of the job he has been doing as mayor and 33 percent said they would vote for him next October.

Ford won the last election with 47 percent of the vote. His support is strongest in the suburbs, where many backed his pledge to curb spending and limit taxes.

(Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Leslie Adler)

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