Rita Smith emails Wood suggesting she quit race
(Written for Town Crier Oct. 15)
An email from a Jane Pitfield campaign supporter asking candidate Jennifer Wood to “do the right thing” and drop out of the Ward 29 council race is causing major tension in the east-end race.
Rita Smith, who has been a volunteer on Pitfield’s campaign, sent the email in question to Wood on morning of Oct. 14, the day after Rocco Rossi dropped out of the mayor’s race.
“Jennifer, now that Rocco has bowed out … I hope you will give serious consideration to doing the same thing,” the email read. “You would be doing the right thing for the right reason, and everyone would admire your judgement (sic) in the situation.”
Smith admits sending the email but is adamant she did so without the consent, knowledge or direction of Pitfield.
“Jane (Pitfield) knew nothing of it,” Smith told the Town Crier this afternoon. “I didn’t discuss it with her beforehand to ask advice.”
Pitfield said in the seven election campaigns she has run in, she’s never asked a candidate to step down.
“I had no knowledge of it. The whole thing came as a surprise to me,” said Pitfield. “I’ve had nothing to do with it.”
Smith claims she wrote the email to offer Wood her advice, as she did in an earlier May 12 email. The latest email suggested she drop out for two reasons: Wood’s support of Rossi and her chances of winning in Ward 29.
“Jennifer (Wood) is on record as a Rocco Rossi supporter and he supports her,” Smith told the Town Crier today. “I felt (Wood) won’t move forward now that Rocco Rossi is out of the race. And mathematically she will not win. But she might take votes from Jane Pitfield and let an NDP council (candidate) Mary Fragedakis win.”
In spite of the explanations of both Smith and Pitfield, Wood isn’t satisfied that her fellow candidate didn’t have a hand in the affair and said as much during her opening statement at an all-candidates meeting Oct. 14.
“I was very disappointed to get the letter from Jane Pitfield’s campaign that I step down given that I am a frontrunner – as is Jane,” Wood said Oct. 15. “I think it’s Jane’s way of trying to get rid of the competition.
Wood would be happy with an apology, but she’s not holding her breath.
“Seeing as both Jane and Rita deny Jane had anything to do with it, I don’t see an apology coming forward.”