Ford Nation lives on in Toronto. Rob Ford’s 22-year-old nephew became a Toronto City Councilor in the July 25th by-election for his late uncle’s seat in Etobicoke.
But that wasn’t the only interesting election result from the night.
On the same day, Alexandra Lulka won a by-election in North York to be the new School Board Trustee for Ward 5. And her victory was nothing short of incredible.
Lulka was the underdog in Ward 5, running against star-candidate Erica Shiner.
Shiner is the granddaughter of former North York and Metro councillor Esther Shiner, and niece of Toronto Councillor David Shiner. The Toronto Star did the math and all but guaranteed another Shiner victory in North York.
Yet Lulka came out victorious.
And like the Ford’s, Lulka ran her campaign as a Conservative. Former Ministers Joe Oliver and John Baird endorsed her, her lawn signs were Conservative blue, and her literature had pictures of her with Conservative politicians. She wore her political allegiances as a badge of honour.
Alexandra won with 1,464 votes, defeating Shiner by 116 votes (roughly 2% of total votes cast).
Shiner had name recognition, backing by the public sector unions, and more resources. But Lulka was able to prove that a strong ground game combined with a strong Conservative branding effort can still be an advantageous strategy for success in Liberal-dominant Toronto.