CINCINNATI - Cincinnati City Councilman Christopher Smitherman announced Friday he is temporarily stepping down as president of the NAACP’s local chapter to focus on his reelection campaign.
Smitherman also took a leave of absence from his NAACP role during his last council campaign in 2011.
The move is done to comply with a policy adopted by the NAACP’s national board of directors in 1968.
“I am following the protocol of the national office about what must be done when running for a public office, so there are no conflicts during the campaign,” Smitherman said.
Smitherman, an independent, is seeking his third City Council term. He previously served from 2003-05 and from 2011 to present. He has served as president of the NAACP’s local chapter since 2007. He has been reelected to that position several times.
Smitherman will relinquish his NAACP role to Jim Clingman until Nov. 5, which is election day. Clingman is economic development chair for the local chapter.
“Jim will now be the acting president, and it leaves me free to do what I have to do to get elected,” Smitherman said.
Smitherman will file the petitions needed to be placed on the November ballot with the Hamilton County Board of Elections either late Friday or early Monday, he said
A North Avondale resident, Smitherman, 45, is a financial planner with an office in Bond Hill. He is married and has five children.
He heads the Cincinnati NAACP’s executive committee, which has 40 members.
A controversial figure, some people have criticized Smitherman for forging an alliance with some Republicans and the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST).
During the past few months, he led an effort to hold a referendum on a parking lease approved by City Council in a 5-4 vote. Although Smitherman collected enough signatures to place the issue on the ballot, the lease is tied up in a legal battle.