CLEVELAND –The inside of Sterle’s Country House had a party-like atmosphere Tuesday night where supporters of Mayor Frank Jackson gathered.
The East 55th Street restaurant was where people gathered to watch the election results roll in.
When Jackson’s campaign manager took the microphone around 10:45 p.m., he said they were ready to call the race.
“I guess it is what it is. All the votes have not been counted, so we’re going to make a leap here and make an assumption,” Jackson said of his projected victory with about 2/3 of precincts reporting.
Jackson, 67, was seeking his third term as Cleveland mayor. He was challenged by businessman Ken Lanci, 63.
Lanci’s supporters gathered at the Cleveland Masonic and Performing Arts Center on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland.
Fox 8 News was not allowed inside the facility.
Both candidates are democrats and were the only ones running for the office, so no primary election was required.
In Tuesday’s general election, both candidates voted by absentee ballot.
During the day, Lanci spent time campaigning, but his office did not release additional details. He was not available to speak with Fox 8 News.
Jackson, 67, stopped by his campaign office earlier to meet with supporters.
He said he wants more time to help the schools improve and to make sure the entire city benefits from the prosperity downtown.
“We need to institutionalize this, so that’s what my next four years will be about. How do we make sure that these things are in place to have a better pathway to success and a better guarantee of the success for the people and the businesses of the city of Cleveland,” Jackson explained.
When Lanci announced his candidacy, he said he wants to use his “organizational turn-around skills” to benefit Cleveland residents.
Jackson began his tenure as Cleveland mayor in 2006. He didn't foresee a spot in this election.
In an interview last week with Fox 8's Lou Maglio, Jackson said, "It wasn't my intent to run a third time, but what happens is, you work at what you work at and things begin to progress. It gets to a certain point, and Cleveland is right there."
When he launched his re-election campaign, Jackson listed some of his accomplishments, citing what he called positive results of strong financial planning, a resurgent environment for economic development, and the groundbreaking educational plan to transform Cleveland schools.
Lanci used the latter issue as a point of contention in September's mayoral debate.
“I think it’s disrespectful for the residents of Cleveland to have lived the last eight years with a failed school system,” said Lanci. “You’ve had plans, you’ve implemented them. This is just another plan and this plan is not going to work.”
When Fox 8's Jack Shea reached out to Lanci last week, Lanci explained why he wasn't granting interviews, saying, "Simply said, Jack, when this campaign started, all the opportunities were there for everybody and it’s been blacked out, so here I am the last week. I’ve taken my campaign to the people. This is who I care about.”
Jackson is Cleveland's 56th mayor. He represented Cleveland's 5th Ward on city council from 1990-2005 and also served as president of council from 2002-2005.
Lanci ran and lost a bid for Cuyahoga County Executive in 2010.
Return to FOX8.com to watch the results roll in and watch Fox 8 News at 10 for election coverage.