With 100% of ballots recorded, nonprofit executive Justin Bibb and city council president Kevin Kelley led the Cleveland mayoral primary and will face off in the general election.
Latest in Civic Engagement
Civic engagement and voter turnout throughout Cleveland’s wards have been a mixed bag going into the primary election. Mail ballot requests and returns have generally increased citywide from where they lagged in 2017. And some progressive newcomers say their grassroots campaigns have seen on-the-ground interest in city council elections, but some of their incumbent counterparts remain wary.
On an early September evening, about a dozen neighbors gathered in the backyard of Phil and Christina Buck on Cleveland’s west side for a meet-and-greet with City Council president and mayoral candidate Kevin Kelley. The candidate, dressed casually in a short-sleeve shirt and leaning forward in his lawn chair, listened intently as an Ohio City resident complained about absentee landlords.
Sen. Sandra Williams, who could be the first Black woman to serve as Cleveland’s mayor, said two prominent Cleveland businessmen have offered her cash and political favors to step out of the race. She’s faced questions about her ability to lead based on her gender. But banking on her state-level colleagues and legislative track record, she will see the mayoral race through to the end.
Questions during the second Cleveland mayoral debate challenged the mayoral candidates to envision a city with a strong economy, a clean and safe environment and a robust public education system. Just as we did after the first debate, the Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative reached out to residents who asked questions to see what they thought of the candidates’ responses.
Five nonprofit groups whose work focuses on improving parks have formed the Cleveland Parks and Greenspace Coalition to push for equitable access to green space, transparency in how investments are made, and residents taking “ownership” over parks in the city. Cleveland has fallen behind its peer cities in providing equitable parks for all, they say, and the time is right to dismantle structures that perpetuate racism.