Core issues expected to drive voters to polls in Cleveland's Mayoral Race

Posted at 6:08 AM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-02 08:37:57-04

CLEVELAND — This election day brings one of the biggest races in Cleveland. Voters are deciding who the next mayor will be. The city hasn’t elected a new mayor in 16 years.

Cait Kennedy, a political expert from Cleveland State University, says the big debates over crime, education and who supported former Mayor Frank Jackson could be major indicators of who's going to win today.

But an upset is not out of the question.

“I anticipate that voters will likely vote almost like down the lines, so to speak,” Kennedy said. “For Clevelanders, I think other issues have taken priority over the vaccine mandate in the conversation.”

Kennedy says those issues include crime, public safety and education.

“The conversation around policing in Cleveland is really a lightning rod for many voters,” she explained. “Crime has risen across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic that we're all experiencing, but the mayor does need to be out front sort of addressing that issue.”

During the primary, Justin Bibb finished with roughly 3,000 more votes than Kevin Kelley. Kennedy says the numbers could indicate a win for Bibb.

“Typically what happens is the winner of the primary does usually go on to win the general.”

But will more voters show up at the polls?

The primary race was decided by just 40,000 people, which is just 16 percent of Cleveland’s population.

“Given the primary, I anticipate that we're going to see a modest increase in voter participation this year once all the absentee ballots and in-person ballots are counted are counted,” Kennedy said.