CINCINNATI — Aftab Pureval will be Cincinnati's new mayor.
The Hamilton County Clerk of Courts defeated longtime city council member and two-time mayor David Mann in his first run for the city's highest office. Mann conceded at around 10 p.m. Tuesday, congratulating Pureval.
"Tonight we made history in Cincinnati," Pureval said.
Student body president while at Ohio State University, Pureval attended University of Cincinnati College of Law and worked as a global brand attorney for Procter & Gamble prior to running for Clerk of Courts in 2016. He was the first Democrat in over a century to be elected to the position. In 2018, he ran against Congressman Steve Chabot for his district seat.
After serving as Cincinnati's mayor for eight years, John Cranley is term-limited from running again. Cranley launched his campaign for Ohio governor in August, testing whether a moderate Democrat can win a red-leaning state with promises of jobs and growth paid for with profits from legalized recreational marijuana.
In his last State of the City address, Cranley offered advice to his replacement.
"My advice for the new mayor — and I'll work with either one of them, I wish them well, I'll always be cheering for Cincinnati — is to support the police to reduce crime and to continue supporting business growth in the city and repopulation," Cranley said.
Throughout his campaign, Pureval said he will focus on rebuilding the economy following the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as investing in public safety and affordable housing. Pureval also noted the importance of restoring trust in a City Hall that has seen three council members arrested by the FBI in one year.
Even before the pandemic, Cincinnati city operations faced steep challenges — among them a significant budget shortfall and ongoing disputes over the future of the struggling Cincinnati Bell Connector. COVID-19 compounded existing problems, driving the city to furlough 1,700 of its employees in late March. One study estimated the city would come up about $90 million short as a result of the pandemic.