One of Brandon's worst-kept secrets was finally revealed early Friday morning, when Shari Decter Hirst announced on Twitter that she would officially seek re-election as Brandon's mayor.
Good morning #bdnmb! I wanted to let the twitter-verse know that I am running for re-election.City has momentum & opportunities ahead!— Mayor Shari (@MayorShari) April 25, 2014
Until now, Decter Hirst had been notably mum on the subject — with Brandon's first female mayor first saying that she was waiting to finish city business like the budget before considering the run.
In an email sent to supporters, Decter Hirst said that dramatic change had marked the past three-and-a-half years at city hall.
"Brandon has grown dramatically! It has also changed dramatically. It is a city that is growing, is evolving, is transforming. To do that, we've had to change the way we deliver services, the way we engage residents, the way we plan for the future," she wrote. "I am working hard to reawaken a sense of community in our city."
As recently as yesterday, Decter Hirst had refused to address rumours or to confirm information that she was intending to run which the Sun had obtained from multiple sources.
It was a different story last election, when Decter Hirst dropped her gauntlet a full year before the election.
Former councillor and high-profile businessman Rick Chrest has already announced that he'll be taking at run at the mayor's chair as well.
He announced his intentions in January, shortly before Brandon East MLA Drew Caldwell confirmed he would not run for mayor. Both Chrest and Caldwell, along with Decter Hirst, were included on a seven-candidate hypothetical ballot during a poll earlier this year conducted by Probe Research for the Brandon Sun. In that poll, Chrest had the support of 29 per cent of voters with Decter Hirst close behind with 24 per cent. Caldwell came in at third place with 15 per cent.
Decter Hirst said that voters would be faced with a "familiar choice" in the upcoming election.
"(T)he more things change, the more they stay the same," she wrote. "In this election, you will be facing a very familiar choice. And it is also a very clear choice. It is not just a choice about different personalities, different styles of leadership, different sets of priorities and values. The choice in 2014 is about very different visions for our city."
The official campaign period for mayoral candidates begins May 1. The election will be Oct. 22.