Incumbent Mayor John Cranley was successful in his re-election campaign, defeating councilwoman Yvette Simpson Tuesday night.
With all precincts reporting, Cranley held 53.95 percent of votes, compared to Simpson’s 46.05 percent. There was a total of 60,462 votes cast in the mayoral election.
In total, Cranley received 32,617 votes, with Simpson reeling in 27,845 votes. Cranley brought in roughly 5,600 votes in preliminary voting, compared to Simpson receiving 4,400 votes.
Cranley has served as mayor of Cincinnati since 2013, when he became the city’s 69th mayor.
Incumbent Cranley has largely built his campaign on his last four years in office. “This city is objectively a better place than it was four years ago,” he said during a mayoral debate in October.
Simpson is serving her second term on city council. She was originally elected in 2011. Simpson is the Chair of the Human Services, Youth, and Arts committee.
Both Simpson and Cranley are Democrats. The Ohio Democratic Party endorsed incumbent Cranley, while former Mayor Mark Mallory supported University of Cincinnati College of Law graduate Simpson.
Following the primary in May, former University of Cincinnati board of trustees’ member Rob Richardson was eliminated. The voter turnout during the primary election was 10 percent.
Per the pre-general reporting period, Simpson received roughly $250,000 in campaign funding, compared to $900,000 for Mayor Cranley.
Following his defeat in May, incumbent Cranley has leveled up his grassroots approach, in a clear adoption of Ms. Simpson’s tactics. He has been seen going door to door in neighborhoods over the summer.
The candidates are generally similar from a broad perspective, but have diverging views on key issues.
Both candidates believe the most important infrastructure projects are the Western Hills Viaduct and Brent Spence Bridge. They agree that projects such as U.S. Bank Arena and a possible FC Cincinnati stadium site should be placed on the back burner when compared to these transportation infrastructure initiatives.
They both believe in making Cincinnati a business-friendly city. Cranley consistently cited his work on a joint-proposal with Northern Kentucky officials to plea e-commerce giant Amazon to build their second headquarters in the metro area.
The downtown streetcar labeled the Cincinnati Bell Connector, was approved by city council in 2008 through at $137 million plan. During Cranley’s initial mayoral campaign, he publicly criticized the project.
Throughout the race, Simpson has consistently called Cranley the “mayor of good-enough.”
Cranley ran ads during the race criticizing Simpson for putting more financial support into the streetcar, rather than public safety.
In a mayoral debate last month, Cranley said we need a “true public transportation system.” During the same debate, Simpson said she will have to see development around the streetcar downtown to strongly consider an expansion uptown.
Councilwoman has combated Cranley’s complacent campaign policies with rhetoric that is predominantly optimistic and energetic.
“I’m not afraid to talk big picture,” Simpson said during a debate last month.
Some University of Cincinnati students were seen on both sides of the election as each candidate had supporters.
“I was doing research today, and again both of the candidates represented a lot of what I feel,” said Darius Cepulis, a fifth-year computer engineering student. “But, it really came down to looking over articles from the past few years and seeing that there aren’t substantial complaints from sources that I value about the current mayor, and I think that’s a really admirable thing.”
“I voted for Simpson, just because looking at some of the issues with what she wants to do, focusing on crime, human trafficking, homeless people, jobs, women, and poverty in Cincinnati,” said second-year architecture student Jamie Ohls.
“I voted for Yvette because same stance as me, on issues that matter to me,” said third-year chemical engineering student Sam Willis. “She has proven herself through being in city council for a while,” Willis said.
Second-year physics student Joe Ross gave his vote to Mr. Cranley.
“I think he’s done a pretty solid job. My roommate, who’s a political science major, convinced me. It was more up to experience for me, it was a big deciding factor,” Ross said.
“I was torn on who to vote for mayoral for a long time,” said second-year political science and international affairs student Christina Szigety. “I like what John Cranley has done for this city and although it is difficult to work with him, I think that is the nature of politics. I know that he can improve the city and I know he can work well with city council.”
“I went to an event where [Simpson] was talking and it was exciting to hear her speak,” said sixth-year graphic design student Bryn Hastings. “I love her community involvement,” said Hastings.
“The main reason I chose Simpson is because I take the bus to work every day and I thought the expansion of the streetcar to UC would benefit me,” said fourth-year computer engineering student Taylor Rowekamp.
“I voted for Yvette for mayor, because I know her personality,” said Madison Filzer, a fourth-year woman’s gender and sexuality student. “I’ve met and had discussions with her, and her investment in our youth and students is why she got my vote,” said Filzer.
“I voted for Cranley because I think he’s running things pretty good so far,” said Meredith Fleisch, a fourth-year fine arts student. “With Yvette Simpson, I didn’t really agree with the whole Children’s hospital thing I didn’t agree with that. I don’t think she’s ready, I think she’ll be a good candidate in the future but right now I don’t think she’s ready for it.”
Fourth-year environmental studies and prospective law student Dan Lee abstained from voting in the mayoral race and on issue five, and was rather focused on city council and other issues. Lee said his ballot was mostly democratic and he voted to “address the mental health problem.”
Second-year biology student Swairah Rehman went with the incumbent Cranley.
“I tried to avoid voting in a partisan way. It’s his second time running for mayor and he has a clear step by step plan that is more well-rounded. He addresses poverty, and how to break the cycle of poverty, and how to integrate people into the workforce, especially college graduates who are transitioning into the work force. He has solutions instead of putting band aids on issues,” said Rehman.
“Working towards improving the whole of Cincinnati, works towards bettering Cincinnati neighborhoods. We have one Cincinnati,” Rehman said.
Second-year finance student Charley Heintel voted for Cranley, along with voting no on both issues one and two. In regard to the city council race, Heintel voted for Seth Maney and Amy Murray with the goal to “get one Republican back on [city council].”
Communication graduate student Joe Deye voted for the incumbent Cranley because he has a “proven record of doing well.”
Neuroscience graduate student Samantha Reagan voted for councilwoman Simpson “cause she’s better.”
Second-year political science student Jay Williams voted for Simpson because of his work on the David Mann campaign. Mann’s city council campaign falls in the same line of support as Ms. Simpson’s run for office.
“I’m voting for Cranley, just because, between the two, I’ve looked at the Enquirers’ website, and tried to make my decisions based on that,” said Stefan Apostoluk, a fifth-year computer engineering student. “I was difficult between mayor. They’re really similar on a lot of issues, and I am really voting for Cranley, because he’s been doing a good job so far I believe, and to allow him to keep doing his job without being able to do it.”
Third-year communication student Tyler Adams cited several reasons for voting for councilwoman Simpson.
“She supported my family through a lot of things and it’s time to allow a female to be mayor. Allow her to shed some light on things regarding schooling, and big topics that haven’t been touched on. She would be perfect to take that place, and bring about change because we need action,” Adams said.
“Education played a big part in my decision, and there is lots of crime in our underrepresented communities and she would address these issues in a timely manner. Education is pivotal in lives of our youth. She is a perfect advocate for these issues,” Adams said.
Ohio Issue 1 Bill of Rights passed easily, while Issue 2 Prescription Drug Costs failed. Democrats won heated gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey, serving as a partisan litmus test for 2018 elections in the new age of President Trump.
Cranley fit in with the trend of incumbents winning elections across the country. Bill de Blasio of New York City and Mike Duggan of Detroit both were successful in their fight for re-election.