Justin Bibb, Kevin Kelley top Cleveland mayoral primary

Cleveland Mayoral Race

CLEVELAND (WJW)– Nonprofit leader Justin Bibb and Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley led a crowded field in the Cleveland mayoral primary on Tuesday.

Bibb had 27 percent and Kelley had 19 percent with 100 percent of scanners uploaded.


The top two vote getters advance to the Nov. 2 general election in a battle to replace Mayor Frank Jackson, who has held the office since 2006.

“Nearly 18 months ago, they said that we had to wait our turn. They said we were too young. They said that we weren’t experienced enough. But tonight, we showed you, by centering our campaign with the people, we shocked the political world in Cleveland,” Bibb said.

“This has been a long journey. It’s been a lot of hard work. We all know there are people who told us that we can’t win. We all know that were people who said there was no way we’re going to get through the primary. But we did. And we did it because people believed in the message that we crafted together. This is a message that we promoted that we will work hard that the city of Cleveland is a Cleveland that we can all have if we work together,” Kelley said.

Clevelanders chose between Bibb, Kelley and five other candidates: attorney Ross DiBello, Cleveland Councilmember Basheer Jones, former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, former Cleveland Councilmember Zack Reed and State Sen. Sandra Williams.

Reed, who made it to the runoff against Jackson in 2017, conceded his defeat. He thanked his team and his supporters. Kucinich also conceded, adding Bibb ran a great campaign.

Williams, the only woman in the field, posted a statement on Twitter following the loss.

“Thank you to all of the voters in Cleveland who supported my campaign for mayor of Cleveland. Unfortunately, we were not successful tonight but it has been a great journey. My hope is that we will continue to break the glass ceiling for women in Cleveland,” Williams wrote.

Voter turnout in the city was at 15%, according to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

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