CINCINNATI -- Yvette Simpson and John Cranley will compete for the mayor's seat in the November election, according to Tuesday night election results.
With all 188 precincts reporting, Simpson was ahead of fellow Democrats Cranley and Rob Richardson Jr. with 44.79 percent of the vote in the Cincinnati mayor primary election, according to numbers from the Hamilton County Board of Elections. Cranley, the incumbent, was in second place with 34.83 percent.
Although Simpson said early in the night that she was "cautiously optimistic" about her own chances, she admitted that even she was surprised by the size of her win. Throughout the night, she continued to brace for a sudden swell of votes that would knock her down to second or third place.
"There was something in the back of my mind that just kept saying, ‘They haven’t, you know, counted all the precincts,'" she said. "'Maybe the folks who haven’t voted for me haven’t been counted yet.’ I just kept thinking maybe it couldn’t be true."
But it was.
Simpson, who is currently in her second term in the Cincinnati City Council, thanked her supporters at a primary election night event. She said she expected Cranley would be a serious opponent in November.
"We are still out-raised, out-endorsed," Simpson said. "So, anybody who cares about this race, let's be clear: he's an incumbent who has won races before. He's not going to go easy."
Cranley congratulated Simpson on her primary victory at his own event.
"She had a great showing and we look forward to the debate in November," Cranley said. "We are ... very excited about the November campaign, and we'll have a campaign on the issues and we believe -- in fact, we know -- that in November, we will be victorious."
Richardson reached the finish line with 20.38 percent of the vote. He conceded the race and said he had not yet decided who he would support in November.
"I will continue to engage to make this city better," Richardson said.
Both remaining candidates noted that Tuesday's low voter turnout, which totaled around 12 percent according to the Hamilton County Board of Elections, meant that November could look much different. Driving up voter participation in the intervening months is one way both Cranley and Simpson believe they could tip the scales in their own favor.
"We have a 52-neighborhood strategy," Cranley said. "All the neighborhoods are important to us, and we intend to campaign in every part of the city. ... We are confident that when the voters see the records and our vision of the future, the people of Cincinnati will give us another four years."