The heart of Ford Nation has a new leader and he's... a Ford.
On Monday, Michael Ford, 22, nephew of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who died of cancer in March, easily won a by-election for his uncle's council seat in Ward 22—Etobicoke-North.
Following his cancer diagnosis in September 2014, Rob Ford dropped his mayoral reelection bid and instead successfully ran as a Ward 2 councillor—the position he'd held prior to becoming mayor in 2010 and that his older brother Doug held during Rob's term as mayor. Michael Ford, meanwhile, won a seat as a school trustee in Ward 1. After his uncle's death, he gave up that post to fill Rob's council seat, which he won decisively, taking in 69.6 percent of the vote.
Michael Ford told reporters he's dedicated to reducing crime in the ward he grew up in. (His own family doesn't exactly have the greatest reputation in this regard. One of Rob Ford's closest friends, Sandro Lisi, was convicted of threatening to kill a woman, and a Globe and Mail investigation alleged several Fords were involved in drug dealing.)
"I will be at your door to serve you, just like my great uncle Doug has done and my uncle Rob," said Michael Ford, adding his deceased uncle would strike him with a "lightning bolt" if he failed to return a phone call.
Rob Ford prided himself on always being available to answer constituents phone calls, and it seems his nephew is echoing that philosophy. But in many regards, Michael Ford seems to have little in common with his infamous uncles, as media profiles paint him as more thoughtful and progressive.
Follow Manisha Krishnan on Twitter.