Winnipeg’s next mayoral election is still a full year away, but one candidate vying for the spot has already formally announced his intention to run.
Former city councillor Gord Steeves threw his hat in the ring on Monday at Assiniboine Park.
“I am announcing that in 2014 I will be running to become the mayor of the City of Winnipeg,” Steeves told supporters and the media.
Steeves left city council in 2011 to run for a provincial seat with the Conservatives. Steeves lost that bid.
“I don't want to sort of colour my candidacy based on anybody else or anything from the past,” said Steeves. “I do believe, however, that the city needs a new direction, and I'm hoping to provide it for them.”
He said he is returning to municipal politics because he doesn’t like what he has seen at city hall.
“Confidence from the citizenry in city hall seems to be at a fairly low ebb,” said Steeves.
Steeves said he plans to hold a public forum in every ward leading up to the election, starting with one in the Mynarski ward next month.
Steeves is the first to officially declare his intent to run, but there are others who claim they are seriously considering it.
Coun. Scott Fielding stepped down from the city’s most powerful committee last week and said he’ll take a closer look if the time is right to run for mayor.
“I have a lot of experience at city hall. I’ve chaired finance, the property, planning and development and the police board and fire and paramedic services, so I’ve got a lot of experience to do it,” said Fielding. “I’m interested in the job.”
Lawyer Brian Bowman is also eyeing the job. He expects to make a decision in early 2014.
“There is a growing frustration and angst among Winnipeggers for a much more transparent and accountable style of leadership,” Bowman told CBC on Monday.
In the last election, Judy Wasylycia-Leis came in second place to Mayor Sam Katz. She hasn’t ruled out running again either.
“When I made the decision three years ago against Sam for mayor, it was because I felt we could do so much better in Winnipeg,” she said. “Three years later, I feel we could do a whole lot better.”
Provincial minister Theresa Oswald told CBC she had been approached to run but wasn't going to.
"It is an honour to have been approached by a variety of groups and individuals however I’m not running for mayor," she said in a statement.
As for Katz himself, he offered a coy response to reporters on Monday when asked about his intentions to run again.
“I will make a decision when I make a decision. I can assure you, I will let all of the media know at the same time,” he said.
The next municipal election will be held in October 2014.