CLEVELAND — While not every race was a contested one, all 17 wards for the Cleveland City Council appeared on Tuesday's Election Day ballot.
Council members are elected every four years, putting all 17 seats on the same ballot as the Cleveland mayoral election. Of note, current City Council President Kevin Kelley was running for mayor this year, leaving his seat in Ward 13 up for grabs. Ken Johnson's Ward 4 spot was also open after the longtime councilman was sentenced to six years in prison on federal corruption charges.
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In Ward 13, community organizer and housing advocate Kris Harsh defeated Kate Warren 63%-37% after receiving the endorsement of the Cleveland.com and Plain Dealer editorial board. Interim Johnson replacement Marion Anita Gardner decided not to seek a full term in Ward 4, which opened the door for small business owner Deborah Gray to beat Erick B. Walker 62%-36%.
Two incumbents lost their races Tuesday night, with perhaps the most notable result coming in Ward 12 as lawyer and activist Rebecca Maurer ousted four-term incumbent Anthony Brancatelli by just 72 votes. Former Ward 5 Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland resigned earlier this year due to health issues, but her appointed replacement Delores Gray lost 56%-44% to Richard Starr from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio.
In all, five new members were elected to City Council, with Ohio State Rep. Stephanie Howse also defeating former Councilman TJ Dow in Ward 7 to replace the outgoing Basheer S. Jones. The following members were re-elected by comfortable margins against their opposition:
- Ward 1: Joseph T. Jones
- Ward 2: Kevin L. Bishop
- Ward 3: Kerry McCormack
- Ward 6: Blaine A. Griffin
- Ward 8: Michael D. Polensek
- Ward 11: Brian Mooney
- Ward 14: Jasmin Santana
- Ward 15: Jenny Spencer
- Ward 17: Charles J. Slife
Ward 9's Kevin Conwell, Ward 10's Anthony T. Hairston, and Ward 16's Brian Kazy were also re-elected, but ran unopposed. Members will be sworn in this coming January, and with Kelly leaving, their first duty will be to elect a new president.