Cincinnati mayoral race heats up

Audrey Wagstaff

CINCINNATI – With Charles Luken, current mayor of Cincinnati, not running for re-election, the Queen City mayoral race is filled with prospective leaders.

Cincinnati City Council member David Pepper took the majority of votes in the primary election with 31.2 percent of the vote. But General Assembly member Mark Mallory was close behind with 30.7 percent of the vote.

Perhaps the race’s most controversial candidate is Justin Jeffre, recording artist and singer/songwriter. In the primary, Jeffre, who said his top priority is to put the people of Cincinnati first, received only 1.7 percent of the vote.

Jeffre still advocates he is the right choice for the position Jerry Springer once held.

“I am a proven visionary and successful businessman who has lived the American Dream,” Jeffre said. “I’ve traveled all over the world selling over 9 million records and promoting Cincinnati along the way.”

Jeffre also said he is the only mayoral candidate to capture international attention. “My campaign has been covered by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, The London Times, The Malaysian Times, CNN, Time Magazine, Rolling Stone and ‘MTV News,'” he said.

Despite his fame, the race looks to be closest between Pepper, called “one of the (city) council’s most forceful and effective members” in 2003 by the Cincinnati Enquirer, and Mallory.

Pepper said his top three priorities for Cincinnati are safety, youth opportunities and economic growth. “We must reclaim our historic place of being one of America’s safest major cities,” Pepper said.

Mallory also wants to reduce crime while developing Cincinnati’s economy. However, he said the most important item on his agenda is “changing the tone at city hall.”

“Our current leadership at city hall simply isn’t working,” Mallory said. “City leaders fight with one another and there is too little communication between the mayor’s office and the council members. Before anything else can change, the way Cincinnati’s leaders work with one another has to change.”

Other candidates for Cincinnati mayor include Charlie Winburn, commissioner of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission; Alicia Reece, vice mayor of Cincinnati; Sylvan Grisco, Army veteran and retired shoemaker; and fashion designer Sandra Queen Noble.

Contact public affairs reporter Audrey Wagstaff at [email protected].