Friday, July 12, 2013

Five Candidates File for East Cleveland Mayor

Council president working to resolve petition issue, may have to withdraw

The best-known secret in East Cleveland has been that City Council President Joy Jordan would challenge Mayor Gary Norton for the city’s top job this fall. In fact, some wags were betting she might be a shoo-in because the mayor’s repeated failure to comply with campaign finance laws would render him ineligible to run for re-election and might even force him from office before his term expires at the end of the year.

Norton and Jordan did file their mayoral petitions last week, as did two other candidates, Levester Adams and Lateek Rasheen Shabazz. While all four filed on the deadline day, July 3, only Norton’s petitions have been confirmed as valid thus far by the Board of Elections.

A fifth candidate, Vernon Robinson, filed last month. His petitions have also been validated. He, like the others who filed, all entered the Democratic primary. The only person who pulled Republican petitions, Robert L. Heflin III, did not file.

According to the Board of Elections, East Cleveland law provides for a mayoral primary if two or more candidates file for mayor from the same party. At this point, Robinson and Norton would be guaranteed spots on the November ballot unless the petitions of either Jordan, Adams, or Shabazz are verified.

The Real Deal has learned unofficially that at least one critical issue with Jordan’s petitions relates to questions about one of the three electors that each mayoral candidate is required to list as the candidate’s committee. It seems that this elector signed the petitions of multiple candidates and listed two different addresses for his voting residence.

If Jordan is unable to resolve this issue by Tuesday of next week, she runs the risk of being unable to run for re-election to her at large council seat if her mayoral petitions are eventually disqualified.

A call to the Board of Elections for further clarification had not been returned as of this posting.

Council candidates have until August 7 to file petitions to run in the November 5 general election. There is no primary for the nonpartisan council races. Council members whose terms expire December 31 are Jordan, Nathaniel Martin and Chantelle Lewis. Jordan and Martin are at large councilors while Lewis was elected from Ward 3.