Nine candidates filed petitions for Mayor’s Elementary School in Cincinnati through Thursday, May 4th.
If they all qualify for the main election, that will be a record number of candidates since Cincinnati went to the direct mayor election in 2001. The previous record was seven in 2005.
They all remain unofficial candidates until the Hamilton County Electoral Board meets on March 2 to certify them to vote.
In many circles, Cincinnati City Council, PG Sittenfeld, has been banned from the 2021 Mayors’ race to replace Mayor John Cranley, who is temporary that year. That changed on November 19th.
Prior to that day – when Sittenfeld was arrested on charges, he accepted bribes of $ 40,000 in exchange for the council votes he was contesting – only three others had thrown their proverbial hats into the ring, and only one of them had one Significant name recognition: Sittenfeld’s democratic compatriot, council member David Mann.
Now that Sittenfeld is finally out of the running – “due to the current situation, I have decided not to run for mayor”, he wrote on Facebook on February 18 – Cincinnati’s mayor race has become much more interesting.
This is how the Cincinnati mayor area code, which has existed since 2001, works: The candidates run in a field race without party names on the ballot. The top two voters in the May 4 primary elections will each run for a four-year term as mayor in the November elections.
And while there are no party names, all but one – Najoli – are Democrats. The Republican Party did not run a candidate for mayor and instead focused on getting its three nominated councilors to vote this fall in this heavily democratic city.
Here is a list of candidates who will petition the Hamilton County Electoral Board by 4:00 p.m. Thursday. Candidates will be officially certified for the main election at the election board meeting on March 2nd.
On January 14, the current Hamilton County Clerk announced that he would run for mayor “with an emphasis on recovering from COVID economically and restoring public confidence in City Hall.” In 2018, he ran a spirited campaign for the Ohio 1st district seat, but lost to Republican incumbent Steve Chabot.
Najoli, a native of Kenya, finished third in a race with three candidates for the Hamilton County Commissioner in November. He is an Associate Professor at Indiana Wesleyan University,
Mann, a former mayor and congressman, announced his intention to run in May. After a political career that goes back to the 1970s, Mann has the advantage of almost universal name recognition in the city.
The physicist and entrepreneur is running for an election for the first time.
Prather, an occupational therapist, activist, and multi-year candidate for various offices, stated her intention to run for office in August.
Prophet is a retired district chief of the Cincinnati Fire Department and a retired Lieutenant Colonel on the U.S. Army reservations.
As a state senator, Thomas is a former member of the Cincinnati City Council and a former Cincinnati Police Officer.
The Mount Auburn tech entrepreneur is running for public office for the first time.
Those who expressed interest, but ultimately decided against running
Christopher Smitherman (I)
The vice mayor, who is fixed-term this year, had petitions ready but made a statement half an hour before the registration deadline that he will not be a candidate.
Mark Mallory (D)
The former senator was mayor of the city from 2005 to 2013 and originally worked as an outsider for the city hall, who wanted to “end” the chaos in the city council. He had previously notified the WVXU that a number of people were pushing him to run, and on December 22nd he accepted petitions. Still, at the time, he told WVXU that he was only considering it.
On January 26, he told WVXU that he had decided not to run in order to “focus on other priorities.”
Chris Seelbach (D)
On December 9, 2020, Seelbach issued a statement saying he was “exploring” a run. On December 20, that exploration turned into a mission when he issued a statement that he would be accepting petitions for candidacy. “It’s a long way to go to elementary school on May 4th,” he wrote. “Today we are taking the next step on this path.” On February 17, Seelbach, who is on the council for a limited period, said he had ultimately decided not to run and declared: “I’m looking forward to my next step, but it won’t be in the elected policy.”
Young is on term on the Cincinnati City Council this year, and despite submitting signatures on time, he didn’t raise enough to hold the May general election. It took 500 but missed out about 150.