AKRON, Ohio — In Tuesday’s primary election, three candidates, including two democrats, will appear on ballots in the mayoral race.
They include incumbent Democrat Dan Horrigan, currently serving his first term as the city’s first new mayor in decades.
Horrigan’s campaign has focused on what he calls customer service rather than public service and a goal to try and grow Akron by attracting new residents and new business to the city.
“We need to ask people and this is a question we have asked every single constituency group, tell us what you want,” Horrigan told FOX 8 on Monday.
“What can we do as a city to move the city forward? What do you want to see whether it is recreational opportunities, educational opportunities? And you can see they are all kind of connected because they don’t isolate themselves and say, well, if we just had a bunch of jobs that would make everything okay. That’s not — it’s also reducing the poverty rate; it’s also reducing the infant mortality to zero. All of those things are connected as to how we take care of residents but also attract new residents into the city and not just the city but the region as a whole.”
Horrigan said there is not a significant issue in the city that his administration is not trying to address.
**The polls are open from 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Stay with FOX 8 News and FOX8.com for continuing coverage and LIVE results**
But in the Democratic primary he is opposed by Pastor Greg Harrison, a former police detective and deputy who is currently the pastor of Antioch Baptist Church.
Harrison believes there is a disconnect between the Akron that privileged people see and the one in which the not so privileged live.
“The Akron that I live in I see violence every day. The school system is not serving us well, not because they are not trying but maybe their resources are not allocated. There’s poverty, you know? The Akron that I live in, the job situation is not what the other Akron realizes. There’s a food desert in most communities, the poor communities, the communities of color. There’s a disconnect and we have to do something to change that and how do we change that? We change leaders,” said Harrison.
Harrison believes he is uniquely qualified to address the crime concerns in the city and the fact that he is not a politician gives him both an advantage and a disadvantage when voters go to the polls on Tuesday.
“I had no idea what I was getting into, no I was not prepared for this race; I was not prepared for politics over the last three months. I have learned so much about politics — not about what needs to be done, but about politics, about watching my back — to watch your back and that’s not who I am.”
Also in the Akron mayor’s race, although unopposed, as the lone Republican candidate, is Josh Sines.
Sines, a small businessman and a ring announcer for mixed martial arts, pro-wrestling and USA Boxing through Ohio, knows that democrats have had a stronghold on the Akron mayor’s office for decades and believes that it is time for the city to shift gears.
“They definitely, they want a change, they want a new direction and I think the fact that I’m not a career politician, just a businessman, obviously, we saw that in the presidential election, it made a difference, so hopefully in this election people choose to elect somebody who has experience in business also,” said Sines.
He met with FOX 8 News at his newest business, Akron’s oldest restaurant, Bob’s Hamburg, where he says he gets the chance to interact with people throughout the day and learn what his customers feel should be the city’s priorities.
“I do have a unique perspective being here at the restaurant. All day people come in and I have no control of who comes in and I’m not knocking on their doors all the time. Mainly they care about the crime and safety is their number one issue and then they bring up the potholes and they say they are not going to vote for the current mayor. I don’t know; we’ll see what happens,” said Sines.