CLEVELAND — Those looking to succeed Frank Jackson as Cleveland mayor have one week to file their nominating petitions with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to get on the September primary ballot.
On Tuesday, State Senator Sandra Williams became the first to do so submitting close to 5,000 signatures, a minimum of 3,000 valid voter signatures are required which Williams admits in the pandemic was a challenge.
"People didn't want to sign or touch other folks' pens so we solved that problem by buying pens,” Williams said. “We used gloves and we allowed each person to take the pen, use it to sign their name."
Collecting 3,000 signatures is a high benchmark to make the ballot, Columbus for example only requires 1,000.
As a result, Williams admits to using volunteers and a paid team of signature collectors to gather hers. The next week leading up to the June 16 filing deadline will see other announced candidates for the seat the following suit.
"Of course the one looming over all of this is the former mayor, state senator, and Congressman Dennis Kucinich,” said News 5 Political Analyst Dr. Tom Sutton of Baldwin Wallace University. Kucinich on this day was indeed taking part in a launch, not of a campaign but a book, “The Division of Light and Power" highlighting how he as Cleveland mayor in the 70s fought a utility monopoly to save Cleveland's Muny Light. "When I look back I wouldn't have changed the big decision that I made to save that electric system,” Kucinich said. “All told, if you add it all up, people have probably saved close to half a billion dollars on either their taxes or their electric bills in combined total because we saved the light system." When asked if the book was a prelude to a run Kucinich said that would have required a lot of planning. “This book, I began it in November of 1979. Now it would be quite a feat to start a book in ’79 and say you know I think I’ll finish it in 2021 and then I’ll run for office,” he said. “This book was not about a campaign. This is a book about in some ways a secret history of the city that people are going to be very interested in not just in Cleveland but I'm finding interest in it across the country and as far as whether there is a campaign in the offing? I can't tell you that right now, you'll have to stay tuned,” said Kucinich.