Justin Bibb and Kevin Kelley to face off in November in race for Cleveland mayor


CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – Just over 39-thousand people in Cleveland determined the future of the city’s leadership in Tuesday’s mayoral primary.

About 15% of eligible voters cast ballots to decide which 2 mayoral candidates would move forward.

Justin Bibb took the most votes of all 7 candidates in the race with 10,635 votes.

“We’re going to center this government on the people,” Bibb said live on FOX 8 in the Morning.

The 34-year-old grew up on Cleveland’s southeast side and is currently the chief strategy officer for the nonprofit Urbanova.

He says it’s been his dream to be the city’s mayor since he was a junior in high school.

“I believe that we cannot afford more of the same. Because more of the same has gotten us to this point right now…And I believe now, not yesterday, not tomorrow, but now is the time for bold, new dynamic visionary leadership and not the failed politics and politics of the past,” he told supporters Tuesday night.

”I think our message of beating this culture of complacency has really resonated all across this city. When you look at our outcomes as a city right now, poorest big city in America, least connected in terms of digital divide, it’s that status quo mindset that has gotten us to this point.”

Bibb will face City Council President Kevin Kelley on November 2nd.

Kevin Kelley has spent 4 terms as the councilmember for the Old Brooklyn neighborhood, Ward 13.

He says it doesn’t matter where you live in Cleveland, everyone has the same concerns.

“Crime and safety are the number one issues in every neighborhood in the city,” he said in a live interview on FOX 8 in the Morning.

Kelley claimed 7,597 votes.

He says many things have been run well in the city over the last 16 years, but he wants to make more changes.

“In the Cleveland that we will create, there will be no one left behind. We will not accept terms like digital divide, we will not be ok with the notion that your life expectancy or health outcomes are determined by your zip code, we are going to build a better Cleveland together,” he said Tuesday.

The St. Edwards grad is raising 5 daughters with his wife.

“My vision is that we can build strong, safe, thriving neighborhoods where families see their futures, where families want to move to the city of Cleveland because this is the place where they see a good school system. This is where they see safe communities, where they see they’re growing old together. I think we can have a city where every day every person counts.”

Outgoing Mayor Frank Jackson has been in office since 2006. He decided not to seek a 5th term.

Kelley and Bibb emerged from a crowded field of 7.

Former Cleveland mayor, presidential candidate, and state representative Dennis Kucinich wasn’t able to use his name recognition to pull in voters.

He ended the race in 3rd place with 6,481 votes.

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