St. John's city coun. Sheilagh O'Leary received a surprising endorsement last night at federal NDP fundraising dinner.

During his speech, federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair suggested she’ll be a candidate the next time the capital city elects a mayor.

"I will be back to help make sure that Sheilagh O'Leary is the next mayor of St. John's," said the federal opposition leader.

O'Leary, who has not announced she will run for the position, said the unexpected praise was a great honour but stopped short of saying she wants the job.

"It's just incredible that he would have the kind of confidence in me to run for the office of mayor but no, no official status as of yet," she said."But absolutely, I am thinking about it."

If she does decide to run, a federal leader will be in her corner. Mulcair said O'Leary is an extraordinary politician.

"She'll be able to count on the support of a lot of people in this room, including myself," he said.

O’Leary, 47, was first elected to city council in Sept. 2009. At the time, she received more votes (24,056) than any other candidate running for a councillor-at-large position.