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Local man is two signatures short of a mayoral candidate

Approaching people in downtown parking lots while riding a bicycle and wearing paint-spotted shorts, is not a good way to launch an election campaign
Next election, Jeff Primeau promises to register his candidacy on the first possible day, not the last

Hardly half an hour from Friday's 2 p.m. deadline for candidate registrations, Jeff Primeau started to realize pedaling up to complete strangers downtown might not be the best way to launch a mayoral campaign. 

"I'm on a bicycle today, unfortunately," Primeau told SooToday.

"People are leery of someone approaching them on a bicycle, in a parking lot."

"I waited until the last second," Primeau said, sporting a tattered hoodie and paint-splattered shorts.

"It's hard when you're doing it in the last minute. I didn't push. I tried to be respectful."

For the past dozen years, Primeau has toiled in Algoma Steel's utilities department, as an insulator and asbestos abatement worker.

What prompted his very-late decision to run for mayor of Sault Ste. Marie?

"The article the other day on SooToday. The decision about the $3 million move of the Mill Market."

"It just felt like irresponsible spending. That definitely prompted it. Lit a little flame under me again." 

So Primeau got off work early on Friday.

"I biked from Algoma Steel to city hall to pick up the forms. From city hall, I biked to the Machine Shop."

There, his wife works as an events co-ordinator.

"I got my wife's signature. That's the first person I want to support me in all of this," he said.

"From the Machine Shop, doing a little riding around, you know. I got held up talking to a lot of individuals."

"I biked to the mall and I stopped and talked to people along the way and I got a couple of signatures on the way to the mall. I got a couple signatures in the mall from a few friends and then I asked security for their signature, they informed me that they couldn't."

Security also informed Primeau that he couldn't approach others in the mall.

"They said it is against policy. I respected. I walked away from there."

In a half-hour of frantic self-promotion in the core area, Primeau managed to collect 23 signatures.

That wasn't quite enough.

He needed 25.

He nonetheless went to the civic centre, hoping he could find two more signatures there with just five minutes remaining.

Even though he begged city elections staff to help him, Primeau didn't get the two additional signatures he needed.

"I feel really good," he told SooToday.

"I'm glad that the people I did speak to gave me the time they did."

"I cannot wait for the next election, because I will not wait for the last minute."

"I will be putting in my candidacy on the first day, not the last day."

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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