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Cleveland Council President Kevin Kelley files petitions for Cleveland mayor one day ahead of deadline

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Posted at 6:34 PM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 19:14:32-04

CLEVELAND — With Wednesday's filing deadline looming, two more hopefuls for Cleveland mayor filed their nominating petitions, including Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley.

"Seeking the office of the mayor of the city of Cleveland is really an awesome feeling," Kelley said. "I understand the challenge of this position, I understand the challenges that Cleveland is facing right now but I believe that with my experience I know where the problems lie and I think I know enough about city hall how to fix them. That being said, it's not lost on me just the gravity of this moment."

Outside, Kelley told his waiting supporters who helped in the gathering of the more than 5,000 voter signatures that the door knocking is not over.

“Every weeknight, every weekend, every day of the week we’re going to be on the streets taking the case to the people," Kelley said.

Kevin Kelley was the biggest name from Cleveland's voter-rich west side in this race until Monday, when former Cleveland mayor and fellow west-sider Dennis Kucinich entered the race.

RELATED: Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich announces bid for Cleveland mayor

"With Kucinich jumping in, that in many ways pushes Kevin Kelley aside, to some degree," said News 5 Political Analyst Dr. Tom Sutton of Baldwin Wallace University. But Sutton also believes Kelley's continuing run on council and as council president helps him in fundraising and ground game.

"Kevin Kelley has a big head start because he has a ground network that's current and Dennis Kucinich is trying to revive a ground network that's been dormant for several years," Sutton said.

Kelley, for his part, says he isn’t phased by the Kucinich run.

“I can’t control who files, but as far as I’m concerned this election is about the future of the City of Cleveland," Kelley said. "This is about moving forward, the past is the past. I am envisioning a future that is different from the past.”

Also filing Tuesday was another west-sider, Ross DiBello, an attorney in West Park. The two join State Senator Sandra Williams, former Councilman Zack Reed and businessman Justin Bibb in submitting the required 3,000 signatures to get their names on the September primary ballot, with the two top vote-getters facing off against each other in November.