By J.T. McVeigh
After weeks of speculation, Jeff Lehman assured Barrie residents he isn’t finished being mayor of Barrie just yet. Squeezed into a small downtown coffee shop, Lehman who has been on council for 12 years – eight of them as mayor – announced that he will seek reelection in this fall’s municipal election.
“What a 24 hours!” Lehman said to a roar of cheers from supporters. “I am here to announce my intention of running for re-election as mayor in 2018. I feel that we have started a lot of great things in Barrie and I want to finish the job.”
Speculation was created in no small part by a telephone poll conducted by Mainstream Research last month asking a number of questions concerning sitting local politicians. The survey included municipal, provincial and federal levels of government and asked participants who they would vote for as mayor in the next election. That raised questions about Lehman’s status in the upcoming municipal elections.
“The rumours were getting more bizarre, so that is why I decided to make this announcement now,” said Lehman.”My family is supportive and the rumours weren’t doing anyone any good. What I want to do for the next little while, and I thank the province for pushing the nomination date ahead, I want to get back to the table and get more things done.”
Arguably one of the most popular mayors in recent history, Lehman won the last municipal election in 2014 handily garnering more than 92 per cent of the vote. Nominations for the 2018 municipal elections begin on May 1, while election day is scheduled for Oct. 22.