The chaos of the messy mayoral race, just what the city needs
Oh, what a glorious mess the Winnipeg mayor’s campaign has become.
Even though Election Day is almost six months away, the campaign to replace Brian Bowman – who is no longer running – officially began on Sunday. And less than a week later, the field fills up and promises to create a fascinating and fiery race.
On Wednesday, entrepreneur and political analyst Shaun Loney registered his name, fulfilling a promise made last year. Former Liberal MP and mayoral candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette confirmed the speculation and threw his hat in the ring on Tuesday. Com. Scott Gillingham (St. James) and Wilderness Supply owner Rick Shone entered the race on Monday.
They were all passed on the way to the starting line, however, by consultant and former mayoral candidate Jenny Motkaluk, business owner Don Woodstock and grocery store worker Chris Glacio. This trio of enthusiastic candidates registered on Sunday.
There are others hiding in the tall grass.
Former mayor Glen Murray, who spent a decade in Ontario provincial politics, is back in town doing all the groundwork for a possible race. Murray plays his cards very close to being acquired; in recent months, he has made no definitive statement about his candidacy. He might just be enjoying the attention that comes with being a “potential” candidate, but informed political observers believe he’s building a campaign.
In many ways, the craziest wildcard is Ouellette, who exploded onto the Winnipeg political scene in 2014 when he finished a surprising third behind Bowman and runner-up Judy Wasylycia-Leis. The young and charismatic Ouellette succeeded so well that he caught the attention of the federal Liberal Party.
The four years he spent in Ottawa did not translate to re-election in Winnipeg Centre, but it gave him the opportunity to hone his political skills in retail, an area he clearly struggled with. during his first attempt to seize the town hall.
Take the seven registered candidates, add a few more interesting personalities, and you have the potential for a frenetic race, the outcome of which will be virtually impossible to predict.
After eight years of Bowman winning two elections by extremely comfortable margins, a little uncertainty is just what this town needs.