Cincinnati mayoral race: Police union endorses John Cranley

FOP also backs diverse council slate

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati’s police union is endorsing John Cranley for mayor.

The Fraternal Order of Police Queen City Lodge No. 69 (FOP) announced its endorsements for mayor and City Council Friday morning.

Both Cranley and his challenger, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, interviewed with union leaders, hoping to get the endorsement, said FOP President Kathy Harrell.

The candidates were asked about issues including potential layoffs, possible consolidation between the Cincinnati Police Department and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, views on the “right to work” movement and the city’s streetcar project.

Cranley and Qualls were similar on most of the issues except the streetcar, Harrell said. Cranley opposes the project, while Qualls supports it.

The deciding factor was that Qualls has been part of a City Council that has proposed police layoffs every year since 2009, although none ultimately occurred.

“It has been a very trying time for us in the past four years,” Harrell said. “We did ask the questions that are important to our membership.

“The problem is, we have to go by things that have been done in the past,” she added. “We think this is an opportunity for change. We don’t like having police offered up first every time for layoffs.”

Cranley also was endorsed by the firefighters’ union, for similar reasons.

The FOP endorsed a nine-person City Council slate that includes candidates from across the political spectrum.

Only four incumbents were endorsed: Democrats Pam Thomas and P.G. Sittenfeld; Republican Charlie Winburn; and independent Christopher Smitherman.

Also endorsed were Democrat David Mann; Republicans Sam Malone and Amy Murray; Charterite Kevin Flynn; and independent Kevin Johnson.

About Johnson, an unexpected choice, Harrell said, “He really surprised us and gave us one of the best interviews. He is very passionate.”

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