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Government & Politics

Chris Ronayne wins Democratic Cuyahoga County executive primary, will face Lee Weingart in fall

Ronayne campaign
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Chris Ronayne won Tuesday's Democratic primary and will face Republican candidate Lee Weingart in the November Cuyahoga County executive race.

Chris Ronayne won the Democratic primary for Cuyahoga County executive on Tuesday and will face Republican candidate Lee Weingart in the fall.

Ronayne, who was endorsed by the county Democratic Party earlier this year, handily defeated Tariq Shabazz in the May 3 vote.

The primary result sets up a showdown between two candidates who have been campaigning since 2021. At the time, both were prepared to challenge incumbent executive Armond Budish, who opted late last year not to seek a third term.

Weingart, who served as a county commissioner in the 1990s, launched his campaign for county executive in February last year. Last summer, Ronayne stepped down from University Circle Inc., where he served as president for 16 years, to run for office.

Although neither candidate has been elected to office before, both have long been part of the Cleveland-area political world.

Ronayne ran Jane Campbell’s Cleveland mayoral campaign and served in her administration, running unsuccessfully for county council in 2010. Weingart, who was appointed to a commissioner seat in 1995 and lost the 1996 election, runs the lobbying firm LNE Group and has worked on ballot issue campaigns.

Both candidates’ campaign committees had nearly half a million dollars on hand before the May 3 primary. Ronayne reported a balance of $427,500 toward the end of April. Weingart, who has said he aims to raise $2 million, reported $457,600 on hand.