CLEVELAND — Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has announced he will not seek a fifth term in office.
"I'm moving on with understating that this is a relay race, not a sprint. The race is not over and we are not yet a great city. Your job—this is your job—to be to ensure that the runner in the next leg of this race runs hard and he runs true," Jackson said.
The mayor made his announcement in a sprawling “tele-town hall” that featured recorded audio, the mayor’s live video announcement, a congratulatory retrospective video that most interestingly featured actor Samuel L. Jackson, phone calls from admiring citizens and no questions from the press.
"It was an honor and a pleasure to meet Mayor Jackson. I really enjoyed spending time with him hanging out in this community, meeting his family and seeing all the work that he’s done," Samuel Jackson said. "So it’s really an honor and a pleasure to stand here and say, you know, congratulations on all the terms you’ve had there in that city. Man, that’s a record and probably will not be broken. Congratulations."
Jackson was elected mayor in 2006 and holds the record for longest tenure in that role. Prior to serving as mayor, Jackson worked as a city councilman and an assistant city prosecutor for Cleveland Municipal Court.
In November 2017, Jackson defeated challenger Zack Reed by nearly 20 points.
When asked by a caller, the mayor declined to endorse a replacement.
Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley issued the following statement following Jackson's announcement:
“For more than 30 years, Mayor Jackson has demonstrated that public service is truly a calling, first as an Assistant City Prosecutor, then a Council Member, Council President and finally, Mayor. I want to thank him for his unwavering commitment to the City and its people.
But today is a new day. It’s time to focus on the future of Cleveland, where for the first time since 2006, we know we will have a new mayor, new leadership, and a new vision for our city. I offer a vision that will help us emerge stronger from the pandemic, work to rebuild our economy, fight back against violent crime and make sure every neighborhood counts. I look forward to working with Clevelanders across the city to forge this new path as the next mayor of Cleveland.”
Cuyahoga County has a primary election on Sept. 14 to determine who will replace Jackson in the November general election.
Earlier Thursday morning, Ward 7 Councilman Basheer Jones announced his candidacy for mayor.
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