Tuesday, May 16, 2017

CPT: Cuyahoga Politics Today

Challenger emerges in Cleveland’s Ward 3

CLEVELAND — The list has dwindled to two.

Logan Fahey
Social entrepreneur Logan Fahey pulled petitions last Friday to enter the Ward 3 Council race, becoming the first open challenger to the incumbent Kerry McCormack, who was appointed last April to succeed Joe Cimperman after the latter resigned to head up Global Cleveland.

Only councilmen Tony Brancatelli in Ward 12 and Brian Kazy in Ward 16 remain without at least one declared opponent on Board of Election records for either the September 12th primary election or the November 7th general election. The filing deadline for Cleveland's council, mayoral, and judicial races is June 29.

Council races are nonpartisan, meaning that if fewer than three candidates file for a seat, there is no primary contest in that race.

Potential candidates often pull "blind" petitions, meaning their names do not appear on the election board's rolls unless and until they file with the required number of signatures. This is generally done for strategic or tactical reasons. For instance, as we noted last month, while former councilman Joe Jones is circulating petitions to regain his old seat in Ward 1, his name is not listed with the Board of Elections.

Ward 3 includes the downtown district, which means it's fertile ground for campaign donations. It also includes the Tremont, Ohio City and Flats neighborhoods, as well as a portion of Clark-Fulton and the Stockyards.

Fahey pulled petitions to run for the Strongsville Board of Education in 2015 but does not seemed to have filed for the election, possibly because he had or was moving into Cleveland. We were unable to reach Fahey for confirmation by our deadline.

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With so many candidates running for Cleveland City Council and to challenge Mayor Frank Jackson, many will place a greater premium on this year's Democratic Party endorsements. While most incumbents generally get endorsed as a matter of course, given that Ward 2's Zack Reed and Ward 9's Jeff Johnson are each running for mayor, there will be at least two open seats. And widespread anger with Ward 14's Brian Cummins' waffling on the Quicken Loans financing deal, coupled with rising determination of Cleveland's Latino population to reestablish its presence on council, is fueling speculation that Cummins may not run for re-election. That would be a cruel irony, given that Cummins' reason for supplying the important 12th vote for the deal was to sustain his leadership position and benefit his ward's status in the pecking order. [See this excellent piece by Sam Allard for a full discussion of Cummins' professed angst.]

Cleveland members of the Party's executive committee will meet July 8 to endorse in this year's primary races. With early primary voting starting in mid-August, the endorsements will be closely watched, as they may the first public signs of the relative strengths of major candidates in the mayoral and high profile council races.
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