Olivia Chow set to kick off Toronto mayoralty bid today

Olivia Chow asks a question in the House of Commons on June 11, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

The Canadian Press

TORONTO - A day after resigning as an NDP member of Parliament, Olivia Chow formally kicks off her campaign for Toronto’s mayoralty today.

The race to run the country’s largest municipality is destined to play out well beyond the city’s borders, thanks to the incumbent, the now infamous Rob Ford.

The mayor says he’s not concerned about the new high-profile candidate, saying his re-election support is strong despite the string of scandals he’s faced over the past 10 months.

Chow became an official candidate by filing her nomination papers hours after handing in her resignation to the Commons.

The wife of the late NDP icon Jack Layton is a former city councillor who is expected to play up her immigrant roots during the campaign.

Her campaign launch is set to take place in the inner city neighbourhood of St. James Town, where she grew up.

Communications director Jamey Heath said Chow will be the only “progressive” contender among the crowded field of candidates.

“There are two candidates who can appeal to sort of blue-collar, regular voters in Toronto, one of whom is Rob Ford and one of whom is Olivia Chow,” said Heath.

Chow was a Toronto city councillor from 1991 until she was elected to the Commons in 2006.

© The Canadian Press, 2014