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Berns files as mayoral candidate, forcing a primary

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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 joined the WVXU News Team after 30 years of covering local and state politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio governor’s race since 1974 as well as 12 presidential nominating conventions. His streak continued by covering both the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions for 91.7 WVXU. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots; the Lucasville Prison riot in 1993; the Air Canada plane crash at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983; and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. The Cincinnati Reds are his passion. "I've been listening to WVXU and public radio for many years, and I couldn't be more pleased at the opportunity to be part of it,” he says.