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Wannabe candidate drives like maniac, misses election deadline by two minutes

Little more than an hour before nominations closed, Wanda McQueen learned her endorsement signatures were invalid, so she raced out the door and got 25 new signatures
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International Bridge reflected in Civic Centre windows. David Helwig/SooToday

Run for Ward 5 city councillor, they said.

It will be fun, they said.

Wanda McQueen's friends told her all she had to do was get 25 supporters to sign nomination endorsements.

Finally convinced to run in the Oct. 22 municipal election, the longtime Algoma District School Board trustee and former school board chair went out Friday morning and collected the needed signatures.

But when she showed up at City Hall over the lunch hour Friday, McQueen was advised of a new rule that the signatures must be submitted on a prescribed nomination endorsement form issued by Ontario's Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

McQueen had made up her own nomination sheets.

No cigar, she was told.

With little more than one hour to go before the 2 p.m. deadline, the indomitable McQueen returned to her neighbourhood in search of 25 new signatures.

She raced up one side of the street.

Her daughter raced up the other side.

Somehow, they found enough people at home to fill the quota.

The two Ward 5 political stumpers raced then back to City Hall clutching handfuls of nomination papers.

"I drove like a maniac," McQueen tells SooToday.

At the Civic Centre, City Clerk Malcolm White was ready to accept nomination papers from anyone who stepped into the building before the stroke of 2 p.m.

He had spotters posted at both the front and side entrances.

City staff were waiting for McQueen.

SooToday held back its planned 2 p.m. posting of the full candidate listing for 13 minutes, awaiting final word on whether McQueen was in or out.

Wannabe Wanda sprinted to the side entrance, only to be told it was 2:02 p.m.

She'd missed the deadline by two minutes.

In 2014, McQueen had sought a Ward 6 council seat, finishing fourth.

She tells SooToday that once she was convinced this week to make a political comeback, she really had her heart set on the 2018 election.

"It wasn't supposed to be," she says.

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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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