CINCINNATI — An all-Democrat mayoral primary Tuesday will cut to two the candidates to lead Ohio’s third-largest city.
No Republicans are running in Cincinnati’s nonpartisan election, with incumbent John Cranley, 43, seeking a second four-year term against Councilwoman Yvette Simpson and former University of Cincinnati board chairman Rob Richardson, both 38.
It’s been a heated race already, with the candidates debating issues such as the city’s streetcar system and gun violence. The two primary leaders will face off in the November general election.
Cranley, a former councilman who twice ran unsuccessfully for Congress, said the city has improved police, fire and other basic services and improved the city’s financial picture.
“I believe that we have a great city that’s getting better,” Cranley said in debate last week.
Simpson said she would listen more than Cranley and provide visionary leadership that includes all.
“I’m going to bring people together,” she said.
Richardson, who has not run for city office before, said he offers voters a chance for change from politics as usual.
“I will be a different kind of mayor,” he said.
Locally, Vermilion will winnow its mayoral candidates from three to two, and voters in Lorain and North Ridgeville will vote in primaries for city council members. Six issues also will be placed before voters in Amherst, Kipton, Sheffield and Sheffield Township.
Among other primaries in the state Tuesday, Youngstown’s incumbent Democratic mayor faces a primary rematch after a narrow victory in 2013.
John McNally defeated Jamael Tito Brown, former city council president, by 142 votes in 2013. McNally said he’s improved quality of life in the northeast Ohio city. Brown said he would focus on job creation.
Five Democrats and four Republicans are in the Columbus City Council primary, with tense police-community tensions a key issue in the state’s capital and largest city. The top six vote-getters will advance from the nonpartisan primary to vie for three seats in November. Democratic Mayor Andrew Ginther was elected to a four-year term in 2015.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is running unopposed while mulling a potential 2018 Democratic gubernatorial run, while Cleveland and Toledo have mayoral primaries in September.