CINCINNATI - It’s getting closer to Labor Day and the traditional start of campaign season, and Cincinnati’s mayoral race is starting to heat up.
Ex-City Councilman John Cranley announced Tuesday morning he has received the endorsement of State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Bond Hill), a popular politician who was vice mayor during most of Cranley’s council tenure.
Cranley and Reece made the announcement on Fountain Square. The pair was part of the City Council that approved a $49 million renovation of the plaza in 2005 – a project whose opponents included then-mayoral candidate Mark Mallory.
“John Cranley has the vision to lay the seeds for the development that others now show up at ribbon cuttings and take credit for,” Reece said.
Reece also noted that Cranley pushed the creation of area-wide tax increment financing (TIF) districts, which are the key funding sources for groups like 3CDC and the Uptown Consortium.
“The passion and vision John has had for the city has been consistent,” Reece said. “Development doesn’t just start in a couple of years. In some cases, it can take several years or even a decade.”
Cranley served on City Council from 2001 to January 2009. Reece served on the group from 1999 to 2006, leaving to mount an unsuccessful mayoral campaign.
Cranley credited Reece for ensuring neighborhoods shared in development money doled out by City Hall.
“Of course, we’re excited about what’s happening downtown but we can’t leave out neighborhoods,” Cranley said. “That’s been her message for her entire career.”
The other major candidate in Cincinnati’s mayoral race, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, also has been busy.
Qualls announced endorsements Tuesday from five organizations, including environmental and gay rights groups.
They are Equality Ohio, the state's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization; the Miami Group of the Sierra Club; the National Organization of Women; and two labor unions, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 392 and the Council of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers.
"There are significant differences between me and my opponent and I’m pleased that these important organizations recognize this and have signaled to their membership the importance of this year’s election,” Qualls said.
“My opponent can’t beat my record of advocacy on behalf of women, gay rights, the environment and working Cincinnatians,” she added.
Qualls appeared Monday at a splashy media event in Over-the-Rhine to mark the demolition of two dilapidated buildings at the corner of Race and Henry streets near Findlay Market. The structures were razed to make way for a maintenance facility for the city’s planned streetcar system.
Qualls supports the $133 million project, while Cranley is opposed.
Additionally, Qualls has held a series of town hall meetings during City Council’s summer break. The next one is scheduled for Wednesday in College Hill.
Qualls and Cranley are both Democrats. Cincinnati’s mayoral race is nonpartisan, and the two top vote-getters that emerge from the Sept. 10 primary face off in the November general election.
No Republican candidate is running for mayor. Other candidates are Libertarian Jim Berns and independent Queen Noble.
Early voting in the mayoral primary is underway.