Rob Ford Officially Kicks Off Mayoral Campaign

Image: Rob Ford
Rob Ford at campaign rally.Nathan Denette / AP

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Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford officially kicked off his campaign Thursday, asking voters to stand by him in his re-election bid.

"I owe the people of Toronto a great, great deal of gratitude. You are the salt of the earth," he said at the Toronto Congress Centre, the same venue where he celebrated his election victory in 2010. "I love our city and I love being your mayor.”

Framed by supporters toting signs and wearing T-shirts that read "Ford More Years" and "Ford For Mayor," the mayor addressed the infamous controversies he's recently been embroiled in — including the admission he had smoked crack cocaine in a drunken stupor.

Rob Ford at campaign rally.Nathan Denette / AP

"There has been some rocky moments over the past year. I have experienced how none of us can go through life without making mistakes," Ford said, addressing a roaring crowd. "And when they occur we learn a lot about ourselves — humility, the kindness of people and the spirit of second chances."

Seeking a second term, Ford said he wishes to continue serving the Canadian city with his proven track record.

"I have a proven track record. I’m running on my ideas of further cutting the cost of government, keeping taxes low and removing red tape. We need our tax dollars to unleash growth, not prevent it," he said.

The event was packed with raucous supporters, cheering each time Ford spoke.

"I know I’m the right person for the next four years," he said. "The people of Toronto know that I am just like them.”