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Wasylycia-Leis eyes new run at mayor's seat

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Judy Wasylycia-Leis has invited backers to a meeting so she can gauge support.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

Judy Wasylycia-Leis has invited backers to a meeting so she can gauge support. Photo Store

JUDY Wasylycia-Leis is measuring her level of support for another run at the mayor's chair.

The former NDP MP sent a mass email Sunday to supporters, inviting them to a February meeting to determine whether they will support her second try.

Wasylycia-Leis told the Free Press she's been repeatedly encouraged to run for mayor again -- she came second in 2010 -- but she needs to know whether her team of volunteers will support her and what their concerns are for the future of the city.

"It's part of a whole series of deliberations around this enormous decision -- it's not an easy one to make," Wasylycia-Leis said about the Feb. 2 meeting. "I want to be absolutely convinced there is a collective will among folks who worked on the last campaign to see change at city hall.

"And if it's not me, this meeting is still important for bringing people together to discuss strategies and how to affect change."

Wasylycia-Leis invited volunteers from her 2010 mayoral campaign to the meeting at the Park Theatre in south Osborne to discuss the 2014 municipal election.

"Since my run in 2010, where we garnered over 91,000 votes, I have kept open my options for another bid for mayor," Wasylycia-Leis stated in her email invitation. "But I need to hear from you about whether I should seriously pursue this path and, more importantly, whether there is the collective will to work for change and a shared vision for our city's future."

The civic election will be held Oct. 22 and it appears Mayor Sam Katz is vulnerable. A public opinion poll commissioned by the Free Press in December found Katz's level of support at its lowest since he last ran for mayor.

That poll also found Wasylycia-Leis would easily outdistance a slate of right and right-of-centre opponents.

While Wasylycia-Leis trailed Katz by more than 25,000 votes in the 2010 election, the poll found that same level of support in 2014 would easily trump several right-wing opponents, who would split the support Katz once commanded.

Wasylycia-Leis said she wasn't surprised by that poll's findings, adding it confirmed her belief her support has been holding steady since the 2010 election. "I know that polls are just a moment in time, and it doesn't give me the definitive answers I need."

Wasylycia-Leis said she knows left-of-centre councillor John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry) is also considering entering the race, adding that's why it's important to know the mood of her supporters.

"I've talked to (Orlikow) and told him I'm still seriously considering a run, and I'll be doing a lot of soul-searching and major consultations between now and the spring to determine whether I should run or not."

Wasylycia-Leis said she won't make her announcement before May 1, the earliest date a candidate can register for the fall election.

Only former councillor Gord Steeves has formally declared he's running for mayor. Others considering a run include lawyer Brian Bowman and Couns. Paula Havixbeck and Scott Fielding.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 14, 2014 B1

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Updated on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 7:07 AM CST: Replaces photo

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