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Mann makes it official: He's running for city council

David Mann - former Cincinnati City Council member, mayor, and congressman - is running again for Cincinnati City Council, 20 years after he left that legislative body.

About three dozen supporters crowded into the lobby of Mann's downtown law office Tuesday morning to hear him officially announce his candidacy.

"I am not running for mayor again; I'm not running for Congress,'' the 73-year-old Democrat said. "I'm running to be  the best city council member I can be."

Mann served on that body from 1974 to 1992, with two stints as the city's mayor - 198-1982 and 1991.

He becomes the fourth non-incumbent to announce for the city council race in 2013 - the first in which council members will be elected to four-year terms instead of two years. He joins fellow Democrats Greg Landsman and Michelle Dillingham and Republican Amy Murray.

Mann ran for an appeals court judgeship in 1996 and lost. He has not been on the ballot since, but has been practicing law and involved in various civic organizations. Recently, he became one of the founders of Beyond Civility, an organization dedicated to bringing people of diverse political beliefs together to listen to each other's points of view.

Mann said he realizes there is a whole generation of younger voters - and people who have moved into the city in recent years - who have never seen his name on a ballot.

"I am going to have to work for every vote,'' Mann told WVXU.

He said he is running because he has devoted his life to public service and wants to continue that as a member of city council.

He invoked President John F. Kennedy, who famously proclaimed in his inaugural address that Americans should "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

"I ask, what can each of us do for our community,'' Mann said. "That's why I am running."

Mann was elected to Congress in 1992, but served only one two-year term. He was defeated by Republican Steve Chabot in 1994 in an election that saw the Republicans gain control of the U.S. House.

Former city councilman Paul Booth was at Tuesday's announcement. Booth, a former congressional aide to Mann, will chair his campaign.

Also in the crowd were the Rev. Damon Lynch Jr., and fellow Democrats P.G. Sittenfeld, a first-term council member running for re-election, and former council member and county commissioner David Pepper. Landsman put out a press release saying he was sorry he couldn't attend, but said he would be "more than honored" to serve on council with Mann.

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