BREAKING: There Will Soon Be More Women than Kevins on Cleveland City Council

click to enlarge Rebecca Maurer explains the CLASH lead legislation, (2/4/19). - Sam Allard / Scene
Sam Allard / Scene
Rebecca Maurer explains the CLASH lead legislation, (2/4/19).

The unofficial results of Tuesday's general election show that five new members will be sworn into Cleveland City Council next year. Three of the new members are women, heralding an exhilarating new era in Cleveland governance in which women on the city's legislative body outnumber those with the first name Kevin.

Council will now have five women representing city residents—the three elected yesterday minus the incumbent Delores Gray, who was appointed in Ward 5 by Phyllis Cleveland earlier this year and who lost to challenger Richard Starr Tuesday—and only two Kevins. Council President Kevin Kelley ran unsuccessfully for Mayor, surrendering his seat in Ward 13 to do so, leaving only Kevin Bishop in Ward 2 and Kevin Conwell in Ward 9. 

The new women are Deborah Gray in Ward 4, Stephanie Howse in Ward 8 and Rebecca Maurer in Ward 12. The two other newbies are Richard Starr in Ward 5 and Kris Harsh in Kelley's Ward 13.

Other than Starr, only one challenger defeated an incumbent to earn her spot on council. Rebecca Maurer, the local attorney, activist and author of the Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing legislation, defeated 16-year incumbent Tony Brancatelli in Ward 12. That ward is one of only two in Cleveland that spans the Cuyahoga River, covering Slavic Village and portions of Old Brooklyn, Brooklyn Centre and Tremont. Maurer, whose campaign centered issues of resident engagement and good governance, placed second in the September primary and narrowly defeated Brancatelli 51-49 Tuesday.

 The others:

-Deborah Gray in Ward 4. Gray defeated librarian Erick Walker to claim the seat long held by Ken Johnson, who was convicted of theft in office earlier this year. Gray is also the twin sister of Delores Gray, who failed to retain her seat in Ward 5.

-Stephanie Howse in Ward 7. Howse, who briefly served on City Council as an appointed replacement to Fannie Lewis in 2008, most recently served in the Ohio Statehouse. She defeated T.J. Dow, who held the seat before losing to Basheer Jones in 2017 and whose tenure was marked by frequent scandal and financial shadiness.

-Kris Harsh in Ward 13. Harsh, the favored candidate of Kevin Kelley, defeated Kate Warren in Old Brooklyn. Harsh most recently worked as the housing director for the Metro West Community Development Organization.

In the other races, incumbents retained their seats with significant margins of victory: In Ward 1, Joe Jones def. challenger Kimberly Brown (68-32); In Ward 2, Kevin Bishop def. challenger Monique Moore (73-27); In Ward 3, Kerry McCormack def. challenger Ayat Amin (75-25); In Ward 6, Blaine Griffin def. a write-in challenger; In Ward 8, Mike Polensek def. challenger Aisia Jones (78-22); In Ward 9, Kevin Conwell ran unopposed; In Ward 10, Anthony Hairson ran unopposed; In Ward 11, Brian Mooney def. challenger Michael Hardy (55-45); In Ward 14, Jasmin Santana def. challenger Nelson Cintron (65-35); In Ward 15, Jenny Spencer def. challenger Chris Murray (84-16); In Ward 16, Brian Kazy ran unopposed; In Ward 17, Charles Slife def. challenger Mary Kathleen O'Malley (63-37). 

Here's a handy chart to keep this all straight.
click to enlarge BREAKING: There Will Soon Be More Women than Kevins on Cleveland City Council
Sam Allard / Scene

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Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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