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City Councilman Chris Seelbach considers joining increasingly crowded 2021 mayoral race

Posted at 12:59 PM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-09 20:56:03-05

CINCINNATI — Chris Seelbach is the fourth sitting City Council Democrat to set his sights on the mayor's office next year.

In an emailed release Wednesday afternoon, Seelbach announced he's "exploring a run for Mayor of Cincinnati" in 2021 and outlined a laundry list of policy positions that would be the focus of his campaign, ranging from police reform to transportation to transparency in government.

"Cincinnati is in need of strong, bold, visionary leadership that doesn't just continue business as usual," Seelbach wrote in the release, touting what he described as his "progressive" record during his time on City Council.

First elected in 2011, Seelbach was the first openly gay candidate to win a City Council seat.

Seelbach did not commit fully to campaigning for mayor but said he will make a final decision after the turn of the year.

The arrest and indictment of Seelbach's colleague and fellow mayoral hopeful, P.G. Sittenfeld, on public corruption charges marked a watershed moment in the 2021 campaign for the city's executive office. Seelbach is the third local politician to announce a potential bid just this week: City Councilman Wendell Young and former City Councilman and current Ohio State Sen. Cecil Thomas, both Democrats, requested petition paperwork from the Hamilton County Board of Elections earlier this week.

Democrat, current city councilman and former Cincinnati mayor David Mann announced his campaign earlier this year.

The top two vote-getters in the May 4, 2021, primary will advance to November's general election.

Seelbach, Young and Thomas all expressed that their motivation to run, in part, came from wanting to restore the public's trust in City Hall after three council members -- Jeff Pastor and Tamaya Dennard, in addition to Sittenfeld -- came under federal charges of public corruption this year.

Dennard pleaded guilty to accepting a bribe in exchange for a vote on a development deal and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Pastor and Sittenfeld have expressed intentions to fight the charges, and both have voluntarily suspended themselves from Council while their trials take place in U.S. District Court.