One municipal election candidate has received more attention over the past 24 hours than, possibly, the mayor.
Brendan Mertens, 29, is running in Bay Ward against incumbent Mark Taylor, former councillor Alex Cullen and another candidate, George Guirguis.
Judging by his videos, I wasn’t sure if Mertens’ campaign was serious. Dang, they’re funny, though.
Turns out Mertens is serious. In my short conversation with him today, he listed his concerns about water bills increasing, flooding in Britannia, green bins and transit fares.
Married and looking to plant roots in the community, Mertens — who’s originally from Peterborough — said the videos are a way to turn people’s attention from the same old political candidates.
“You’ve got to go against the grain. If I came out in a suit and tie I would go unnoticed,” Mertens said. “Look, the Ottawa Sun and I are talking right now.”
He works in the health care field and previously worked in TV and film.
“I’m a huge fan of comedy. That’s pretty much my secret weapon in this campaign. Well, not really secret,” he said.
Running gags in his videos so far have been his anti-bear campaign and his pursuit of taking down Poland.
So what’s with the Poland thing?
“I’ll say no comment,” he said.
Will it be a running theme during the campaign?
Here’s a guy who knows how to drum up interest. Not an easy thing for an unknown candidate to do.
I accidentally called and e-mailed the wrong Brendan when I was trying to get in touch with Mertens this week. The Brendan I originally contacted was Brendan Gorman, another council candidate who’s running in West-Carleton March.
Turns out Gorman, like Mertens, is from Peterborough and I had a good conversation with him about his campaign in the rural west end.
Gorman, 35, is a former competitive cyclist who most recently worked for the Ottawa Sport and Social Club. He also worked for a bank as a financial advisor.
“I had it in my mind at some point I’d run for office,” Gorman said. “I’d like to go through the experience.”
Gorman didn’t say anything negative about incumbent Eli El-Chantiry.
“I’m not anti anybody. I’m pro me,” Gorman said.
And so, dear readers, that’s your news on the Brendans running in the Oct. 27 municipal election.