Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog announces mayoral run

Krog said he plans to stay on as MLA until the municipal election in October.

Krog plans to stay on as MLA until municipal election in October

Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog has announced his candidacy for the city's top job. (NDP)

Longtime NDP MLA Leonard Krog has decided to run for mayor of Nanaimo.

Krog announced his candidacy at the Coast Bastion hotel in the city on Wednesday and said he plans to stay on as MLA until the municipal election in the fall.

The revelation comes after weeks of speculation on his political future — and could have big implications for the government's fragile majority.

Provincial power razor-thin

The NDP and Green Party currently have a combined 44 MLAs — which means a B.C. Liberal party win in a Nanaimo byelection would give that party the votes to effectively block any legislation by the provincial government.

It could also lead to an early election. 

"We usually don't have governments that are this tight," said University of Fraser Valley political scientist Hamish Telford.

Ahead of the official announcement, B.C. Premier John Horgan wished the MLA the best in a potential run.

"There's been a long-standing challenge in the city and Leonard believes — and many, many, many people believe — that he is the best person to address that,'' Horgan said during a news conference in Grand Forks, B.C.

City wants 'boring': former staffer

Krog's candidacy also comes at a colourful time in municipal politics.

For the past two years, Nanaimo's city hall has been wracked by infighting — including a lawsuit the city filed against Mayor Bill McKay, investigations by RCMP and special prosecutors, as well as the departures of over three dozen city staff. 

Tom Weinreich, who retired as manager of building inspections last year, said the city just wants to be "boring."

"We don't want to be the national news," he said. "We just want good steady governance that we're not embarrassed about. People are ashamed right now."

The campaign period for B.C.'s local election begins on on Sept. 22. Voters head to the polls on Oct. 20.

With files from Justin McElroy and the Canadian Press

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