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Company working for Abbott used questionable tactics in T.O.

A political consulting company working on the George Abbott campaign used questionable tactics in the October mayoral race in Toronto, according to a Toronto Star article.

Campaign Research was connected to the Abbott campaign through the source code for the quickly removed website, the Star noted. Company partners Richard Ciano and Nick Kouvalis had previously worked on Rob Ford's winning campaign to become Toronto mayor in October, 2010.

The website tactic "might sound familiar to Toronto voters," said the Star. "After Ford steamrolled to victory . . . Kouvalis revealed that, during the campaign, a junior staffer posted from the Twitter account of queensquaykaren, a fictitious supporter of Ford rival George Smitherman."

And another campaign staffer called into the talk radio show of another potential mayoral rival, John Tory, "and anonymously challenged his integrity in a strategy aimed at keeping him from making a late jump into the Toronto mayoral race."

The Star said that Kouvalis would be in B.C. to work for Abbott, but a spokesperson for the campaign said the paper was incorrect, as the Vancouver Sun's Jonathan Fowlie reported last night. "I'm not familiar with him," Abbott had told Fowlie earlier in the day. "I'm told he may be joining the campaign. Apart from that I don't know."

A spokesperson for the Abbott campaign said Campaign Research has done polling, telephone town halls and technology outreach for the campaign. Company partner Richard Ciano is in B.C. helping out, but Kouvalis will not be, she said.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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