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Berns files as mayoral candidate, forcing a primary

Libertarian Jim Berns has filed petitions to run for Cincinnati mayor, setting up what will be the first mayoral primary election in the city since 2005.

Democrats Roxanne Qualls, a former mayor and now vice mayor, and former council member John Cranley have not filed their petitions yet, but are actively campaigning and raising money and plan to file petitions by the June filing deadline.

Berns' entry into the race guarantees a primary election in the city of Cincinnati on Sept. 10; and it will be a costly one.

Hamilton County elections director Amy Searcy estimated it will cost $380.600 to conduct the primary in Cincinnati's 173 precincts. Hamilton County will front the money; and will be reimbursed by the city later, Searcy said.

The top two finishers in the September 10 primary will face each other in the November general election in the race to replace Mayor Mark Mallory, who can not run for re-election under the city's term limits law.

Several others have taken out petitions to run for mayor, so the field may grow.

Berns has run numerous times for Congress, including last fall, when he took 2.8 percent of the vote in the 1st Congressional District race won by Republican incumbent Steve Chabot.

Berns could not be reached for comment.

Cincinnati - which has had direct election of the mayor since 2001 - has not had a primary since 2005, when seven candidates entered the race. David Pepper and Mallory were the two top vote-getters; and Mallory won the general election.

Howard Wilkinson is in his 50th year of covering politics on the local, state and national levels.