Kevin Kelley is Definitely Running for Judge, Pens Letter Seeking Democratic Party Endorsement

click to enlarge Blaine Griffin (R), announced his endorsement of Kevin Kelley outside the DREAM mural at E. 110th and Woodland, (9/16/21). - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
Sam Allard / Scene
Blaine Griffin (R), announced his endorsement of Kevin Kelley outside the DREAM mural at E. 110th and Woodland, (9/16/21).

Former Cleveland City Council President and 2021 mayoral candidate Kevin Kelley is now a candidate for judge in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.

In recent interviews, Kelley hinted that seeking a local judicial seat was likely to be his next move after 16 years on Council. And last week, he confirmed as much when he sent a letter to members of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party's Executive Committee, seeking their endorsement.

In the letter dated Jan. 5, Kelley outlined his professional background as a social worker, a lawyer and a City Councilman and recapped his commitment to the local party, including efforts to support endorsed candidates and financial support he provided to the party itself.

During his eight-year tenure as council president, Kelley controlled the infamous Council Leadership Fund, a political action committee designed to support City Council incumbents. He annually donated thousands of dollars to the county party from its reserves. 

"Simply put, I have been a proud, loyal Democrat all of my adult life," Kelley wrote. "I would be honored by your support at the upcoming Democratic Party Executive Committee meeting."

That meeting is currently scheduled for Jan. 26, and endorsements will be made for the May primary elections. The party endorsement is of enormous value, as party resources are then marshalled to promote preferred candidates via literature and events. And crucially, according to the party's bylaws, no member of the party may publicly oppose an endorsed candidate once an endorsement has been made. 

Kelley will be running for an unexpired seat in the Court of Common Pleas' General Division that expires at the end of 2024. He'll be facing two other Democrats with popular Irish names: Mary Catherine Corrigan and Thomas J. Kelly.

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About The Author

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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