© 2022 WKSU
Public Radio News for Northeast Ohio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Eight Candidates File to Run for Cleveland Mayor

a photo of Dennis Kucinich
Nick Castele
Dennis Kucinich files signatures to make the Cleveland mayoral ballot at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections on Wednesday.

Updated: 9:50 a.m., Thursday, June 17, 2021

Eight candidates filed petitions by Wednesday’s deadline to enter the race to succeed Frank Jackson as mayor of Cleveland.

The list includes longtime elected officials and first-time hopefuls who have been preparing for months to give the city its first new mayor in 16 years.

The candidates are:

  • Justin Bibb, an executive at an urban technology nonprofit
  • Ross DiBello, an attorney
  • Basheer Jones, Ward 7 Councilman
  • Kevin Kelley, Cleveland City Council President
  • Dennis Kucinich, the former congressman and former Cleveland mayor
  • Zack Reed, Former Ward 2 Councilman
  • Landry M. Simmons, a career law enforcement officer
  • Sandra Williams, state senator

All are Democrats except for Simmons, a Cuyahoga County GOP central committee member. Reed has run previously, unsuccessfuly challenging Jackson in 2017. The eight will face each other in a nonpartisan primary Sept. 14, with the top two vote-getters moving on to the November general election.

Cleveland’s charter requires mayoral candidates to collect 3,000 signatures from registered city voters. The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections had not verified all petition signatures by the close of business Wednesday.

City council races

There are crowded races for Cleveland council seats, too, with contested races in 15 out of 17 wards. Only two incumbents, Ward 16 Councilman Brian Kazy and Ward 10’s Anthony Hairston, are running unopposed.

A total of 16 candidates have filed to run in Cleveland’s Ward 4 – including incumbent Ken Johnson, who is fighting federal charges and challenging a suspension from council. Anita Gardner, who was appointed as an interim replacement for Johnson, is not running for the seat.

Ward 7 will see a rematch between two former council members: TJ Dow and State Rep. Stephanie Howse. Dow narrowly lost reelection in 2017 to Basheer Jones. In a 2008 special election, Dow defeated Howse for the seat. She had been appointed just months earlier after the death of longtime Councilwoman Fannie Lewis.

In addition to those two, nine other candidates are running in Ward 7.

Two candidates are running to succeed Kevin Kelley in Ward 13: Kris Harsh, who works for Metro West Community Development Corporation, and Kate Warren, a research fellow with the Center for Community Solutions.

Three appointed city council members – Ward 5’s Delores Gray, Ward 11’s Brian Mooney and Ward 17’s Charles Slife – will face their first electoral challenges this year.

One of Slife’s two opponents is Ken Trump, a school safety consultant and a spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Republican Party.

In Ward 12, Councilman Tony Brancatelli faces a challenge from Rebecca Maurer, an attorney and the ward’s Democratic club leader. Several other candidates are also in the race.

Copyright 2021 WCPN. To see more, visit WCPN.

Nick Castele is a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media.