THUNDER BAY – Mayor Keith Hobbs says he’s strongly considering running for a third term this fall.
Hobbs, 65, on Friday confirmed he hasn’t ruled out putting his name on the ballot in 2018, saying there are still some things he’d like to accomplish at city hall.
“I’m looking at the number of candidates for mayor so far and it’s impressive that that many people want to take on the top job,” Hobbs said at a media launch at the Lake Superior Centre for Regenerative Medicine. “I haven’t ruled it out 100 per cent. I said earlier I wasn’t going to run.”
Hobbs pointed to economic success stories, as the main reason why he might consider changing his mind.
“I think in the last eight years we’ve done a great job and I wouldn’t mind maybe carrying that on. I just don’t know yet where life is going to take me,” he said.
The mayor still faces legal issues, including an extortion charge, related to an incident surrounding convicted ex-lawyer Alexander (Sandy) Zaitzeff, who alleged Hobbs, his wife and another woman attempted to force him to buy a home for the woman.
Those charges have not been proven in a court of law.
Hobbs said if he doesn’t run for mayor, he might consider putting in his name for an at-large councillor bid.
“There is a thought of that because at least three at-large councillors are running for mayor. I understand Coun. (Frank) Pullia will probably throw his hat in the ring again. I still think we need some experience on council,” he said.
“I’d hate to see a new slate of people coming in, because they’d have to learn everything all over again. They’d have to carry on what we’ve been working on. A lot of them would be green.”
Pullia, who four times in the past has run unsuccessfully for mayor, is keeping his plans close to his vest. He’s been giving a lot of thought to his political future, but has no plans to reveal them anytime soon, he said.
“Nothing is imminent,” Pullia said on Friday.
Pullia has served three terms on council, from 1994 to 1997, from 2006 to 2010 and from 2014 to present.
Coun. Iain Angus and newcomers Kevin Cernjul and Mariann Sawicki have already submitted their nomination papers at city hall to run for mayor. Coun. Larry Hebert has indicated he plans to do so.
One veteran councillor who did reveal his plans on Friday was Red River Ward representative Brian McKinnon, who said he’ll seek a fourth term in the Oct. 22 vote.
“I’m going to run in Red River and I’m going to focus on some of the things I’ve already started. There are three or four things I’d like to see come to fruition,” he said. “Certainly in my own ward there are one or two things.
“I want to see the conclusion or finish of Junot (Avenue), which was taken off the books this year – and Balmoral as well, the same thing. There’s some roads that need to be done, so those kind of infrastructure things.”
McKinnon had early on in his current term suggested he was not going to run again, but said there’s still work left to accomplish, which is why he had a change of heart.
David George Noonan, who finished runner-up to McKinnon in 2014, filed his nomination papers in Red River Ward on Thursday.
Candidates have until July 27 to file to run.
Follow Leith Dunick on Twitter: @LeithDunick