Ron Ellsworth, who is hoping to score a political comeback in next month's St. John's civic election, said he is not fazed by a last-minute challenge for the deputy mayor's seat.

Jennifer McCreath stepped forward on Tuesday to file nomination papers for the Sept. 24 election. Until then, Ellsworth — a former councillor who was defeated in the 2009 mayoralty race by incumbent Dennis O'Keefe — had been unopposed.

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Jennifer McCreath is running to be deputy mayor in St. John's. (CBC)

Ellsworth said he welcomes the competition.

"Anybody who puts their name on the ballot is a serious threat. It's a part of democracy," Ellsworth told CBC News.

"I commend anybody who puts their name on the ballot for stepping up and being a part of [the] democratic process," he said.

McCreath, a transgender activist who has worked as a policy analyst with the provincial government, cancelled plans to run for council last week when she could not find supporters to sign her nomination papers.

However, she jumped into the race on Tuesday with a new sense of vigour — and said she plans to give Ellsworth a run for his money.

"Sure, there might be people [who] say, 'You're not going to win,' but you aren't going to win if you aren't on the ballot," said McCreath.

"I'm now on the ballot. I'm ready to give this a go," she said.

McCreath also said she partly picked the deputy mayor's race in order to foil an acclamation.

"I think this city will have a tremendous opportunity to take a look at two excellent candidates and decide what exactly do they want for this city," she said.