O'Leary running for St. John's mayor

In what was one of the worst-kept political secrets, St. John's city councillor Sheilagh O'Leary has announced she will run for mayor in September.
St. John's Coun. Sheilagh O'Leary announces her bid for mayor on the next municipal election 22:09

St. John's city councillor Sheilagh O'Leary has announced that she's running for the mayor's chair. She made the announcement surrounded by supporters at a news conference Wednesday morning at city hall.

If elected, O'Leary said she plans to "cultivate a strong council through morale building, transparency, communication and respect."

O'Leary said she will lead a non-partisan city council.

"And that's why I like St. John's city hall," said O'Leary. "That's why I didn't run for provincial politics, or federal politics, why I'm vying to be mayor of this city — because you get to work and have the conversation with everybody in this city."

O'Leary said that conversation will include things like transportation, seniors housing and building a more business-friendly city.

Current mayor Dennis O'Keefe said he's happy to hear O'Leary's news.

"The more choices people have, the better off our city will be – and I expect there will be more candidates yet to come, so I'm very pleased, I must say," said O'Keefe.

Last spring, O'Keefe announced that he will run for re-election.

"I'm not running against Sheilagh O'Leary. I'm not running against anybody, really. I'm running for the position of mayor that I now hold."

O'Keefe said his campaign will begin near the end of summer, shortly before voters head to the polls in September.

Geoff Chaulk's name will also be on the ballot. The mental health advocate has already started his campaign with a Facebook page and ads in local newspapers.

O’Leary 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. 

St. John's voters will go to the polls on Sept. 24.