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CLEVELAND -- Oneled the parade andthe other was relegated near the rear of the procession.

Mayor Frank Jackson and challenger Ken Lanci joined legions of vote-seeking council members, judges and state lawmakers at the annual 11th District Congressional Caucus parade and picnic.

Mayor Jackson picked up a batch of officeholder endorsements, including one from parade sponsor Rep. Marcia Fudge.

"He has done more than anyone expected in a city this size with the economy the way it is," she said.

The endorsement put Jackson at the head of the procession, working for votes on the holiday.

"It's not work to me...When I'm mayor, it's difficult to be out. I enjoy the opportunity," he said.

Ken Lanci, his support troops, school bus and shrink-wrapped RTA buses were back almost at the very end of the two-hour-plus parade.

He was trying to win voters with the message that crime, poverty and struggling schools are still realities inCleveland's neighborhoods.

He talks of tackling those issues largely through faith, hope and love, as well as embracing new ideas.

"The people that are hurting need something different," he said.

A number of parade watchers share his belief that the success of downtown development projects is not being felt in the city's neighborhoods.

Cleveland resident Antoine Scott said, "Everybody will tell you, that's good for (downtown) but not helping people in Cleveland. We're still struggling. We're still looking for jobs."

Cleveland resident Elaine Lemon added, "Hotels are coming in beautiful downtown. But if you don't have anything in the neighborhoods and people are leaving left and right and people don't have jobs then, pffft."

Mayor Jackson said his goal at City Hall continues to be "how do you connect the prosperity in a way that is broad-based and make it a way of life throughout the city."

But Lanci argues that after eight years of Jackson's policies and intiatives, it's time for a change.

Despite the fact that Jackson has lots more endorsements and is perceived as the overwhelming favorite, he's not taking Lanci for granted.

"I'm not taking him lightly. Anytime anybody gets in the ring, it's on,"he said.

Lanci said, "Our polls show us in a dead heat on the East side. 52 percent are undecided."

An exuberantLanci says the order in the parade maynot bethe Election Day outcome.

"This is going to be a major upset, " he predicts.

Arace that's gotten underwhelming media attention may finally be ready to get more lively.

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