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Steeves denies asking Bowman not to run

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Gord Steeves says only one candidate can stop Judy Wasylycia-Leis from becoming mayor — and he hopes voters make him their choice.

While making a campaign promise Friday to eliminate aggressive panhandlers, Steeves elaborated on statements he released Thursday night in light of two polls that show Wasylycia-Leis has a comfortable lead over all the other candidates.

Steeves said the polls show the three centre-right candidates — himself, Brian Bowman and Paula Havixbeck — are splitting the vote, and enabling Wasylycia-Leis to win.

Steeves said he’s concerned the damage Wasylycia-Leis could do to the city because of her ties to the NDP, adding she can’t be stopped if three centre-right candidates remain in the race.

Bowman dismissed Steeves comments as typical of old-style, divisive politics. Havixbeck said she wouldn’t be bullied by Steeves into quitting.

Bowman said earlier Friday that Steeves had asked him not to run. Steeves denied it, saying he approached Bowman for his support before he was aware Bowman — who openly talked about running for months — planned to run.

Steeves said he isn’t encouraging Bowman or Havixbeck to drop out, adding voters who share his views about the NDP have to coalesce around one centre-right candidate if Wasylycia-Leis is to be defeated.

"I’m clearly in second place," Steeves said Friday, ignoring the poll findings that show he and Bowman are tied for second. "For me to become the mayor of Winnipeg, I have to consolidate my base of support. I really meant nothing more than that."

Steeves said he’s not planning to drop out, adding he hopes voters who are lining up behind Bowman and Havixbeck will switch sides and join him.

"I am trying to convince voters in the City of Winnipeg to support my candidacy."

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

 

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