Thursday, June 29, 2017
Choose your metaphor: politicians and would-be politicians smell blood in the water and are primed to attack a man they perceive to be vulnerable after being the dominant fish in the pond. Or voter discontent with the status quo is so widespread that Minnie Mouse could have secured enough valid signatures.
Either way, it is clear that Frank Jackson's stewardship as Cleveland's mayor over the past twelve years will be dissected and vivisected mercilessly over the summer leading up to the nonpartisan September primary that will reduce the field to two finalists for the job Jackson would like to retain for a record fourth 4-year term.
The top two primary finishers will face off November 8.
I write this in transit 30 minutes after the Board of Elections released what is likely to be the most hotly contested mayoral primary since Carl Stokes first ran in 1965. Four candidates have had their petitions validated by the Board so far. They are social entrepreneur Brandon Chrostowski, Cleveland councilman, Jeff Johnson, State Rep. Bill Patmon, and Dyrone Smith, likely the least known candidate in the race. Election officials are checking the petitions of the last minute filers: former East Cleveland mayor Eric J. Brewer; incumbent Jackson; Robert M. Kilo, who previously challenged the mayor; businessman Tony Madalone; and Cleveland councilman Zack Reed.
Fasten your seat belt after you bolt your chair to the floor. The ride to Sept. 12 is likely to contain more than a few twists, turns and loops.
Absentee voting starts August 8, a mere 40 days away, a schedule favoring the best-known and most organized candidates.