Mayoral candidate Bob Bratina on June 14, 2022 when he officially registered his nomination. Credit: Joey Coleman

Do not let a single poll fool you, Bob Bratina is a serious contender for mayor.
A large segment of Hamilton’s population loves him.

Bratina was “one point” behind Keanin Loomis in last week’s Torstar poll is statistically irrelevant – they are tied within the margin of error. Sure, he was below expectations.

It takes only one poll with Bratina “ahead” of Loomis to change the narrative, even if they remain statistically tied.

Bratina is a proven fundraiser. He will have the money to mount a strong mayoral campaign.

He does not need to spend as much as his opponents to effectively reach his voters.

As a retired CHML morning show host, Bratina benefits from having many friends in Hamilton’s media. As in 2010, he can use these relationships to his benefit.

On May 18, Bratina announced his mayoral run on TheSpec municipal columnist Scott Radley’s CHML radio show. In 2017, Radley pondered the idea that Bratina’s four years as mayor from 2010 to 2014 may have been a “Golden Age” for Hamilton.

His campaign launch on June 14 went smoothly. He was friendly to the media, on message, and complimentary towards his opponent Keanin Loomis.

Last Tuesday, when Andrea Horwath launched her campaign, Bratina responded to media calls for comments by stating he welcomed Horwath to the race by emphasizing respect for her as a friend.

I chatted with Bratina on both June 14 and last Tuesday.

He was very friendly, a change from the past few years in which encounters with him have ranged from cold to outright bitter.

This friendly Bob is the person most Hamiltonians know.

Bob, the CHML morning radio host.

Bob, the MC for countless charity events.

Bob, gameday announcer for the Tiger-Cats.

This is the Bob won the Ward 2 Council seat in a 2004 by-election, succeeding Andrea Horwath. [Horwath became the Hamilton East MPP in a provincial by-election that year.]

This is the Bob who easily won re-election in 2006, the mayoral campaign in 2010, and was elected to the federal Parliament as the Liberal MP for Hamilton East – Stoney Creek.

Bob Bratina confronts City Manager Chris Murray during a April 24, 2013 Council meeting.

Bratina’s unhealthy ego may be his fatal flaw. His temper flares up when his ego is bruised. It’s been widely written that Bratina is “thin-skinned.”

Over 15 years ago, in what a Spec reporter described as a “meltdown,” Bratina threw a pen across the Council Chamber. Bratina blames then-Mayor Fred Eisenberger, and complains about TheSpec’s reporting. The incident continues to be cited to this day.

This didn’t matter in 2010 when Bratina was first elected mayor, only three years after the incident.

None of his past negatives will make a difference in 2022 – provided the Bratina we have seen over the past eight weeks is the Bratina we see throughout the campaign.

People like Bob. In a time of uncertainty with inflation and affordability concerns, Bratina could be the “safe” choice for most voters.

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Published: August 2, 2022
Last edited: August 2, 2022
Author: Joey Coleman
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