Race for Mayor in Thunder Bay a Three Person Chase

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THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay’s ongoing quiet revolution turned its aim toward incumbent Mayor Lynn Peterson at the first Mayor’s Debate at the Labour Centre. From Marina Park to the Wind Farm the Mayor was grilled by questions from resident. Almost 300 people attended the forum hosted by the District Labour Council.

A spokesperson for the Hobbs campaign stated that the debate went better than they had hoped it could have. One of the audience members commented that “It looked like the audience was impressed by Hobbs. Mayor Peterson got a rough ride.”

Another person commented that “I did an unofficial tally of key points made by each of the candidates. Everytime they said something new, or looked an issue in a different light, or spoke well on a subject I made a point. In my view, The Mayor got three points, Pullia got three points and Hobbs got ten points”.

As the incumbent, Mayor Peterson gets to shoulder both the good and the bad that people see in our city. The Mayor will likely face a fair number of pointed questions. Likely the success of Mayor Peterson’s efforts for a third term will depend on how she appears and answers those questions.

Mayor Peterson is not well known for her skills at battling in a confrontational fight. In this election, the Mayor faces two well skilled opponents in Pullia and Hobbs, both of whom have little problem in a tough fight.

It will be up to the Mayor to get into the fight and start throwing some serious punches if she hopes to end up standing at the end of this campaign.

For Keith Hobbs, it is quite possible the key to winning rest with the degree of change that voters in Thunder Bay wish to see. Hobbs, with a five month almost daily door-knocking behind his campaign may have made enough of an impression on voters to maintain what many people see as a lead.

Hobbs may have to convince some voters that his platform is deeper than simply crime. However the crime issue has been topping all of the non-scientific polls conducted by all of the local media in recent months. That issue, coupled perhaps with actions by Police Chief Bob Herman who seems determined to play in the political arena may be playing right into Hobbs hands, all while damaging the chances of Mayor Peterson.

For Frank Pullia, the keys to winning will come as the experienced municipal politician gets his campaign theme of “Change you can trust” into the hearts and minds of Thunder Bay voters. Some voters who may not be comfortable with Hobbs, but not willing to give Peterson a third term may choose to vote for Pullia.

Pullia also likely needs to distance himself from the Mayor on several issues, and outline his platform and direction he would take the city.

It may sound harsh not to mention the other three candidates running for office, but Irwin and Kwasny didn’t make it to the debate. Colin Burridge made it to the debate but was not questioned much by the voters.

It is certainly a three way race, and it is still weeks away from ending, so it is likely too early to count victory for any candidate. As often said, a week can be a long time in politics. This campaign is still not finished.

James Murray

Video supplied by Alphabet Productions.

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