Rob Ford has withdrawn his candidacy from the 2014 Toronto mayoral race, and is now running for councillor of Ward 2.

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Councillor Doug Ford has replaced his brother Rob in the race for mayor.

Councillor Doug Ford met with media in front of his mother’s Etobicoke home Friday evening to officially announce he will be running for mayor.

“Over the last four years, we have taken big steps together. We’ve made the city work better for you, to serve you and not special interest groups and the privileged few. We want to build on the progress that Rob has made, and so folks, I’ve officially entered this campaign,” he said.

According to media reports, the city clerk’s office received two sets of withdrawal papers shortly before 1 p.m. Friday, one for Rob Ford’s mayoral candidacy and one for his nephew Michael Ford, who withdrew his candidacy for councillor of Ward 2.

Jeff Silverstein, Rob Ford’s campaign spokesperson, then registered the mayor as a new Ward 2 candidate, and entered Coun. Ford in the mayoral race.

Mayor Ford has been hospital-bound since Wednesday Sept. 10, when he was admitted to Humber River Hospital for unbearable abdominal pain. A CT scan found a tumour in his lower abdomen.

Ford was transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital on Thursday, where he underwent a second CT scan and biopsy, the results of which will not be known for one week, according to Dr. Zane Cohen, Ford’s colorectal surgeon.

Coun. Ford’s was emotional during his press conference. He spoke of his concern for his brother and how Rob is fighting to get better and continue to serve the citizens of Toronto. Teary-eyed, Coun. Ford said even he was surprised by his brother’s depth of commitment this week.

“Despite receiving some very very difficult news, he only took one minute to process it. His concern turned immediately to his family, and then soon after, to our great city. He told me that he needed me to take the torch while he focuses on getting better.”

After taking a minute to compose himself, Coun. Ford continued by saying he didn’t make the decision lightly. He quoted the mayor as saying “Doug, together, we’ve always been an unstoppable team. And just because I have to sit this one out, it doesn’t mean I won’t be by your side.

Mayoral candidate Olivia Chow would not comment on Doug Ford’s candidacy. Speaking earlier today from her Yonge and St. Clair campaign office, she told reporters she thinks “it’s important that we give the Ford family space today.”

“(Rob Ford) and I and my late husband spent quite a bit of time at city council together so today must have been very difficult for him to step down and not run as mayor. I hope him a speedy recovery so he can be out on the doorsteps of Ward 2,” she said.

John Tory was more vocal about the recent addition to the mayoral race, saying that Doug Ford is “built from the same cloth” as the current mayor, and that “even with the changes today, the choice facing the people has not changed.” Tory also said he respects the mayor’s decision and hopes Rob Ford gets better.

City councillors were quick to weigh in on the day’s dramatic changes.

Ward 7 Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti released a statement endorsing Doug Ford for mayor.

Ward 37 Coun. Michael Thompson told The Ryersonian he is not surprised at such a taking-over in “the business of politics.”

“I hope Rob is Ok. I wish him well,” said Thompson in a telephone interview.

Ward 31 Coun. Janet Davis said she thinks Doug will carry on the same style of campaign as his brother, though he may have different policies.

“Doug is a very different person than Rob,” she said.

Ward 30 Coun. Paula Fletcher said if Rob is ill with cancer, he needs to focus on health and not politics, though the Fords may feel differently.

“Doug running for mayor means politics, and keeping the Ford name in office is the main concern,” Fletcher said.

Doug Ford has asked the media for a few days to spend some time with his family. After that, he says he will “be in full campaign mode.”

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