CLEVELAND — In front of a crowd of family and supporters at the Harvard Community Center, State Senator Sandra Williams on Monday made what had long been expected official. "I am excited and honored to announce that I will be running for mayor of the city of Cleveland,” Williams said.
She is currently the only African American woman serving in the Ohio State Senate.
"Our city needs a woman,” she said. “A woman who has the history of delivering real results to the City of Cleveland, not somebody who is going to come up, first time, never did anything for the community but somebody who has been delivering for 20 years."
Williams was joined by State Senate colleagues Kenny Yuko and Nickie Antonio, as well as State Representative Stephanie Howse, who offered their endorsement, as did County Executive Armond Budish. "I have seen what Sandra can do and let me tell you what she has done in the state legislature she can do even more as mayor of the city of Cleveland,” Budish said.
Running in a crowded, low-turnout primary like we'll see in September is about finding a lane, something Williams may have done, having represented 12 of the city’s 17 wards over the last 15 years.
"She will be the only woman and only African American woman running for mayor at this point, and really there are no other female candidates that they're talking about running for mayor,” said News 5 Political Analyst Dr. Tom Sutton of Baldwin Wallace University. “The challenge for her is going to be fundraising, I think, in part. She has a pretty healthy war-chest, over $300,000 from her last campaign."
"I always think fundraising is a challenge,” Williams said, having been told she’ll need to raise around $1 million. “Campaigning is a blood sport and getting money out of people is the same but I believe that once people hear my message, once people know what my campaign stands for and once people know what I've done over the 15 years that I've been in office, I think the money will come in."
Candidates have until June 16 to file to run for the Sept. 14 primary; the two top vote-getters will face off in the November general election.