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This just in. There's a mayor's race in Cleveland this year.

We've just gone through a grueling Presidential election where Greater Cleveland played a key role in reelecting President Barack Obama.

A contentious governor's race is shaping up between incumbent Republican John Kasich and expected Democratic candidate Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.

But the Cleveland mayor's race may have gotten by you.

You say you haven't read or seen much coverage about it.

That's because there has not been much to cover. And unless a surprise last-minute candidate or supersize scandal happens, there likely won't be.

Mayor Frank Jackson's "official" announcement he's seeking a third term won't come until after his State of the City speech in March.

Third terms pose the danger of staying too long. Think formerCleveland Mayor Michael White's last tour of duty.

Jackson's publicly declared he's running, primarily to oversee successful implementation of the Cleveland schools transformation plan.

He wants to make sure the system delivers on promises it made to voters to pass a levy.

And the tough task of getting the referendum passed was also a referendum of sorts on him.

Jackson says he always campaigns hard and does his best to convince voters he's worthy. He does.

His management of city finances in the wake of big state budget cuts has been careful and conservative.

And he will get to bask in the glory of lots of good news and new development downtown projects, including the Innerbelt Bridge, the Flats East Bank and new Convention Center and Medical Mart. Oh, it's now called the "Global Center for Health Innovation."

Some he played a role in, some are just happening on his watch. The convention and global centers are county projects.

But there are legitimate issues, especially in the safety forces.

Firefighters' abuse of overtime and shift trades has resulted in checks and balances to prevent it.

But the mayor protected former Chief Paul Stubbs, who managed to retire without getting much blame.

And the discipline and leadership issues in the police department raised by November's out-of-control chase and gunfire barrage that killed two apparently unarmed subjects would certainly be a hot button issue for a serious challenger to seize.

Mayor Jackson is upset by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's investigation that seems to preclude the chances of any criminal charges and indicts the department's lack of leadership.

He's standing by and behind Cleveland Safety Director Marty Flask and Cleveland Chief Michael McGrath.

He's waiting for a by-the-book investigation of violations of rules and regulations to see what discipline is appropriate.

His solid -- some critics would say 'stolid' -- leadership is carrying the day.

At his presentation of the city budget to Cleveland City Council, members could have grilled him about any subject.

They basically treated him with kid gloves.

The fact that there aren't more hot-button issues is testimony to Jackson's oversight and management skills.

But a real election might compel him to think more outside the box and raise the bar for future plans.

Rich businessman Ken Lanci, an unsuccessful candidate for Cuyahoga County Executive, has floated trial balloons but would be a very longshot candidate. Many think he'd be wasting his money by running. But Lanci think the city needs a more visionary, chance-taking leader.

Barely known Cleveland Schools parent Donna Walker-Brown has pledged to run against Jackson, based on her issues with schools.

Call it a cakewalk. Call it a free ride.Jackson will certainly go through the motions.

But a meaningful election would get citizens more engaged and connected.

The mayor has a strong record to run on. The city seems headed into a brighter future.

And a ho-hum mayor's race will mean more energy is available for constructive projects.

But democracy by default will not be best for the city, its people or Jackson.

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