CINCINNATI (AP) — Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said Wednesday she won’t seek a third term, raising expectations that the Democrat will seek higher office.
Whaley made her announcement two days after criticizing Republican Gov. Mike DeWine for signing a “stand your ground” law.
Whaley and DeWine had been in accord on the need for gun reforms in the aftermath of a 2019 mass shooting in Dayton. However, DeWine couldn’t get enough support in the Republican-controlled state Legislature.
When DeWine signed a gun rights bill Monday eliminating a duty to retreat before using force, Whaley said he caved to GOP extremists. She said she couldn’t “express my level of disappointment.”
After the Aug. 4, 2019, mass shooting in Dayton’s Oregon entertainment district that killed nine people and wounded at least two dozen more, she and DeWine had pledged to work together to change gun laws.
“Our state needs principled leaders who will stand up for what is right — not what is politically easy,” Whaley tweeted Monday.
Whaley said in a statement Wednesday that she’ll “have more news soon about what is next to me, but I am looking forward to finishing out my term strong.” She is in her eighth year as mayor.
Whaley was pushed repeatedly into the national spotlight in 2019, which included a Ku Klux Klan rally in downtown Dayton and devastating tornadoes.
She had ended a 2018 bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, after being reelected mayor unopposed in 2017. She helped lead a push to get Ohio’s Democratic U.S. senator Sherrod Brown to run for president in 2020, which he decided against, and then endorsed fellow Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the Democratic primary.
DeWine would be up for reelection in 2022. Ohio also will have redrawn congressional districts for that election.