CLEVELAND — On Tuesday, Ohio State Senator Sandra Williams became the first Cleveland mayoral candidate to file petitions for the September 14 primary election.
A native of Cleveland, Williams has served as a state senator representing Ohio's 21st district since 2015. Prior to her time in the Senate, she represented Ohio's 11th district in the Ohio House of Representatives from 2007-2015.
During her stop at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Williams pledged a campaign focused on Cleveland’s future. “We stand at the threshold of a new day for the City of Cleveland," she told the gathering. Williams also noted that in November, voters in Cleveland will have the chance to break down old barriers by electing the city's first female African American mayor.
According to her campaign, Williams filed a total of 4,971 signatures from across the city, well in excess of the 3,000 required to earn a place on the ballot.
Williams is part of a crowded field of candidates that will look to replace the retiring Frank Jackson as Cleveland's newest mayor. In addition to Williams, the list includes Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley, former city councilman and 2017 mayoral candidate Zack Reed, nonprofit executive Justin Bibb, Cleveland City Councilman Basheer Jones, West Park attorney Ross DiBello, Cuyahoga County Republican Party committee member and 2017 mayor candidate Landry M. Simmons Jr., Michael J. Chal, Arthur O. Kostendt, Keyshawn Dwayne Varnado, Anthony Lee Wilson and Latorya Jean Witcher.
Additionally, former Cleveland Mayor and U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich has said to 3News' Mark Naymik that he is "seriously" considering a run.
Jackson announced he was stepping down as Cleveland's longest serving mayor during a Tele-Town Hall last month. "It's time to pass the baton," Jackson said when asked why he was not seeking reelection once again after nearly 16 years in office. "I've been considering it for some time now and I just made the decision that this is my time."
3News' Ben Axelrod contributed to this report