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Politics

Who's Running For Cincinnati City Council (So Far)

Council chambers in Cincinnati City Hall
Jason Whitman
/
WVXU
City Council chambers at Cincinnati City Hall.

In November, Cincinnati voters have the chance to do the biggest makeover of City Council since the council-manager form of government was adopted in 1925.

Only one incumbent council member who is running for re-election will be on the ballot – Democrat Greg Landsman. All of the eight remaining seats could well be newcomers to council.

It is a function of the fact that the federal criminal charges brought in 2020 against Democrats Tamaya Dennard and P.G. Sittenfeld and Republican Jeff Pastor, which led to all three being suspended or resigning. They were replaced by appointed council members to fill out their terms – Republicans Steve Goodin and Liz Keating, along with Democrat Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney. Earlier, Republican Betsy Sundermann was appointed to council to replace Amy Murray, who resigned that year to take a job in the Trump administration.

Council members Wendell Young and Chris Seelbach, both Democrats, and Christopher Smitherman, an Independent, can't run for re-election because of the city's term limits law. The same goes for Democrat David Mann, who is running for mayor against fellow Democrat and current Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval.

That means there will be a minimum of three new council members who will be elected. And, if Landsman loses, there is the possibility that all nine council members will be brand-spanking new.

During the last two council election cycles – 2013 and 2017 – council members were elected to a four-year term.

This year, though, because of a charter amendment passed by voters, Cincinnati will return to the two-year terms it had from 1925 until 2013.

As always, voters will not see any party identifications for the candidates on their ballots. It is officially a non-partisan election.

But that does not mean Cincinnati's four political parties – Democratic, Republican, Green, and the Charter Committee – will sit idly by. All four parties have endorsed slates of candidates.

With no party designations on the ballot, it's up to the parties – and the candidates themselves – to get the message out about who is endorsed and who is not. Party volunteers generally pass out sample ballots at polling places on election day as a last-minute reminder to voters.

This is also expected to be a council election with a record-breaking number of candidates. Forty-three people filed petitions to run and at least 33 names will be on the ballot. Candidates need at least 500 valid signatures (i.e., current residents of Cincinnati who are registered to vote in Hamilton County).

Voters can vote for up to nine candidates, in no particular order. Voter surveys over the years have shown that the average voter checks a box for no more than six or seven candidates. The top nine vote-getters will win an at-large seat on council; seats aren't determined by neighborhood or other regional boundary.

Who's On The Ballot So Far?

This alphabetical list is as of September 7 and will be updated.

Note: Voters in Ohio do not register with a political party. Party affiliation here refers to the ballot chosen in the most recent primary election. Candidates listed as "Non-affiliated" did not vote using a party ballot in any of the last three primary elections.

All candidates with active Twitter accounts are on a Twitter list available here

Jalen Alford

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: Paddock Hills

Jaime Castle

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: Mt. Washington

LaKeisha Cook

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: Westwood

Jeff Cramerding

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: West Price Hill
  • Endorsement: Democratic Party

Michelle Dillingham

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: Over-the-Rhine

Kevin Flynn

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: Mt. Airy
  • Endorsement: Charter Committee

Jackie Frondorf

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: Westwood
  • Endorsement: Charter Committee

Bill Frost

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: Pleasant Ridge
  • Endorsement: Charter Committee

Brian Garry

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: Pleasant Ridge

Galen G. Gordon

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: The West End
  • Endorsement: Charter Committee

Kurt Grossman

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: Central Business District

Reggie Harris

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: Northside
  • Endorsement: Democratic Party

Rob Harris

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: Carthage

K. A. Heard

  • Party: Non-affiliated
  • Neighborhood: Westwood
  • Endorsement: Green Party

Evan C. Holt

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: North Avondale

Nicholas Maleek Jabin

  • Party: Non-affiliated
  • Neighborhood: Mt. Washington

Mark Jeffreys

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: Clifton
  • Endorsement: Democratic Party

Scotty Johnson

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: Mt. Airy
  • Endorsement: Democratic Party

Liz Keating

  • Party: Republican
  • Neighborhood: Hyde Park
  • Endorsement: Republican Party, Charter Committee

Andrew E. Kennedy

  • Party: Non-affiliated
  • Neighborhood: Pleasant Ridge

Greg Landsman

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: Mt. Washington
  • Endorsement: Democratic Party

Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: North Avondale
  • Endorsement: Democratic Party

John R. Maher

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: Northside

Peterson W. Mingo

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: Evanston

Phillip O'Neal

  • Party: Non-affiliated
  • Neighborhood: Avondale
  • Endorsement: Democratic Party

Meeka Owens

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: North Avondale
  • Endorsement: Democratic Party

Victoria Parks

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: College Hill
  • Endorsement: Democratic Party

Logan-Peter C. Simmering

  • Party: Non-affiliated
  • Neighborhood: North Avondale
  • Endorsement: Green Party

Stacey Smith

  • Party: Non-affiliated
  • Neighborhood: West Price Hill

Betsy Sundermann

  • Party: Republican
  • Neighborhood: East Price Hill
  • Endorsement: Republican Party

James Tarbell

  • Party: Democratic
  • Neighborhood: Mt. Auburn
  • Endorsement: Charter Committee

John J. Williams

  • Party: Democrat
  • Neighborhood: Central Business District
  • Endorsement: Charter Committee

Party Endorsements

Four political parties have endorsed candidates for the Cincinnati City Council election. Some endorsed candidates have not yet filed petitions to officially appear on the ballot. Some candidates are endorsed by more than one group.

Hamilton County Democratic Party Endorsements:

  • Jeff Cramerding
  • Reggie Harris
  • Mark Jeffreys
  • Scotty Johnson
  • Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney
  • Greg Landsman
  • Meeka Owens
  • Victoria Parks
  • Phillip O'Neal

Hamilton County Republican Party Endorsements:

  • Liz Keating
  • Betsy Sundermann
  • Steve Goodin
  • Linda Matthews (Board of Elections voted to reject petitions for lack of required signatures)

Charter Committee of Greater Cincinnati:

  • Kevin Flynn
  • Jackie Frondorf
  • Bill Frost
  • Steve Goodin
  • Galen G. Gordon
  • Cam Hardy (petitions not filed - announced withdrawal 8/19)
  • Liz Keating
  • Jim Tarbell
  • John J. Williams

Hamilton County Green Party

  • K. A. Heard
  • Logan-Peter C. Simmering
Updated: August 19, 2021 at 7:30 PM EDT