Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wasylycia-Leis considers running for mayor

Rumours have been flying about this for a while, and now it's being reported in the press:

The race for mayor in Winnipeg just got a little busier, as federal NDP health critic Judy Wasylycia-Leis says she's thinking about running against Sam Katz this fall.

The Winnipeg North MP is mulling the prospect of returning from Ottawa to challenge Katz in the October civic election.

"A lot of people have been raising it with me and asking me to consider running. I'm certainly going to give it some thought," she said Wednesday.

An MP since 1997, Wasylycia-Leis, 58, served as a Manitoba MLA from 1986 to 1993 and held a pair of cabinet posts under Howard Pawley's provincial NDP government. But she has never held municipal office in Winnipeg and concedes she did not consider running for mayor before she was approached in late 2009.

From the Winnipeg Free Press. While I think Wasylycia-Leis would make an outstanding mayor, I don't think she should run right now. Why? For one very simple reason, conveniently pointed out in the article -- it's been over fifty years since an incumbent mayor was defeated in this city, and as sad as this sounds, Katz is popular enough that the pattern is unlikely to be broken this time round. So why would I want a good MP to step down, only to face likely defeat in a run for the mayor's office? And the fact that Lillian Thomas is already in the race seals the deal, as there would be a split in the left of centre vote.

What the left should be doing is focusing on getting more good people on council. That way, maybe Katz would get frustrated and not run again, whereupon Wasylycia-Leis or another worthy candidate could run and actually have a good chance of winning.

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