Russo has pulled petitions for both county executive and county council and is touting his varied background as an asset.
He worked on Bill Clinton's second presidential run and now serves as a political commentator on his own website.
The question is whether a felony conviction for soliciting sex from a FBI agent who was posing as a 12-year-old boy will get in the way.
"It was the biggest mistake of my life," said Russo. "I was convicted of soliciting an underage person online who happened to be an FBI agent. No one was hurt."
Russo was arrested in 2001 near a convenience store in Middleburg Heights. Police said Russo believed he was going to meet a 12-year-old boy after spending months chatting online with the "boy," using sexually graphic language.
But in reality, the "boy" turned out to be an uncover officer.
Russo was sentenced to probation in 2002 after pleading guilty to a fifth-degree felony.
While some felony convictions may bar a person from holding office, the state Attorney General's Office told Channel 3 News that Russo's conviction would not keep him from running for an elected office and holding the post if he wins.
Cuyahoga County Assistant Prosecutor Jess Canonico, who runs the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, said there was no evidence that Russo had engaged in similar chats with real children, either before or after the conviction.
Canonico, however, said, "In terms of the people who are looking to have sex with 12-year-old children, I think you're talking about the worst of the worst."
Russo said it was a one-time mistake.
"It's time for us to no longer be defined by our mistakes," Russo said. "My role in this government will be as an advocate for transparency. No one has had to be more transparent about themselves than me."
So what do some of Russo's potential opponents think of his conviction?
We spoke with Timothy Trogden, who was convicted in 2005 for a misdemeanor offense of stealing a truck.
"If you have a conviction involving small children, that would be a serious problem, from my point of view, and I think the citizens of Cleveland would agree," Trogden said.
But Rosel Hurley, who was convicted in 2003 of misdemeanor hit-skip, said Russo deserves a second chance.
"If he's a good candidate, and if he's the one voters decide on, it shouldn't be an issue," Hurley said. "That's like saying, you know, since I have a hit-skip from 2003, that I shouldn't be able to run."