The campaign for mayor of Ottawa is now a two-way race.
Robert G. Gauthier submitted his papers Wednesday, joining Bay Ward Coun. Alex Cullen in the campaign.
This is Gauthier’s second kick at the can. He was trounced in the race against former Ottawa mayor and current Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Jim Watson in 1997, receiving 12 per cent of the votes, compared to 80 per cent for Watson.
This may set up a bit of a rematch as Watson is mulling over another run for mayor.
“I’m obviously reflecting on what the future holds for my political life and hope to make a decision in the next couple of weeks,” Watson said.
“I have obviously been encouraged by people who have come up to me and encouraged me to run for mayor – it’s very humbling. But it’s a big decision. Certainly I’m enjoying the work I’m doing provincially and with my ministry, but in fairness to my constituents, I’ve got to make a decision sooner or later and let people know what my plans are.
“It’s a decision you don’t take lightly. I’ve spent some time over the holidays thinking about it and want to speak with family and friends in the next little while.”
Since the amalgamation, Ottawa is “a different city, a bigger city,” he said.
While he said Ottawa “has a lot of big challenges,” he wasn’t going to prejudge what the issues are for this council.
“I don’t want to be a quarterback analyst on issues facing the current council. They have their work cut out for them and I wish them well. It’s in everyone’s interest that the city succeeds, because we’re all residents of the community,” he said.
Still, he said “it’s evident that there are challenges that emanate from the budget process, transportation and environmental issues.
“Ottawa is now a big city and has some big city challenges, but also some great opportunities.”
In the council race, Ike Awgu – who was 19 when he first ran in the 2003 election – was the third candidate registered in Bay Ward as of Wednesday morning. Ramsayville Community Association president Mark Scharfe has also submitted his papers for Osgoode Ward.
With files from Tim Wieclawski