St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe says he is planning to run again in the 2013 municipal election, adding his campaign won't come under any party's umbrella.
O'Keefe responded to a weekend endorsement from federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, who said Coun. Sheilagh O'Leary, a prominent party supporter, should be the next mayor and that her campaign would receive considerable support from NDP members.
O'Keefe has been active for decades with the provincial Progressive Conservative party, although he said his municipal campaign will not be affiliated with anyone.
"The only thing I can say is that when I announce for 2013, I will be running as Dennis O'Keefe, an individual who wants to do what he can to benefit the city and I won't be running under any party's flag or any party's agenda," he told CBC News.
O'Keefe said Mulcair's comments confirmed rumours that he had heard recently about the NDP preparing to field a slate in the 2013 election.
O'Keefe, who was first elected to council in 1997, won the mayoralty in a 2008 byelection after longtime mayor Andy Wells resigned following his appointment to the Public Utilities Board. O'Keefe handily won the mayor's chair in the 2009 municipal election.
He had a health scare last year, when he underwent heart surgery after he collapsed during a routine stress test at a St. John's hospital. He made a full recovery.
The next election is 16 months away.
O'Leary said she is thinking about a mayoral run, but has not made up her mind. She was surprised and honoured to hear Mulcair's endorsement during a party event on the weekend.