Republican Machine Gun Kelly superfan Lee Weingart pulled petitions Friday to run for Cuyahoga County Executive in 2022. After announcing his candidacy in February, talking to thousands of county voters, raising upwards of $600,000 and both expanding and tweaking his "Cuyahoga 2030" platform, Weingart is raring to gather the — *checks notes — 50 signatures required to appear on next year's ballot.
But not before the Dec. 18 MGK show at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Weingart, who identifies as "huge punk rock guy," is on the edge of his seat for the show.
He expects to formally file his petitions sometime in January, after which he said he'll continue pounding pavement and spreading his message of sound fiscal management, government transparency and economic growth.
Weingart met MGK last month, he said, and during a brief conversation, encouraged the artist to reintegrate "Love Race" into his live sets. He was delighted to report that at MGK's show the following night, in Pittsburgh, Love Race was on the set list.
Weingart said that his campaign strategy has not changed after Armond Budish announced last month that he would not be running for re-election. His early campaign materials were heavy on criticism of the incumbent.
"My agenda doesn't change," he told Scene. "I'm still focusing on a system that hasn't worked for the residents of Cuyahoga County."
He said he plans to stress the most critical issues facing the region: poverty and a lack of economic opportunity in the urban core and first-ring suburbs. To combat those issues, he plans to deploy strategies to generate wealth and keep it in impoverished areas: support for home ownership, concentrated job growth in areas of dense population and entrepreneurship and small business growth.
Weingart mentioned, just in passing, that MGK hails from Shaker Heights, where Weingart also lives, and said that both he (Weingart) and MGK are devotees of English rock: the Stones, the Who, Pete Townshend's solo career, etc.
He said that neither former University Circle Inc. Executive Director Chris Ronayne nor Maple Heights Mayor Annette Blackwell, the two announced Democrats in the race, have advanced a coherent platform.
"Just look at their websites," he said. "You won't find a single idea or program on there. These are establishment Democrats with no incentive to change the system."
Weingart says that with or without additional Republican challengers, he hopes to have raised a cool million for the primary and additional million for the general.
Weingart was eager to speak in greater detail about his platform in 2022, and leaped, on social media, at the prospect of meeting at The 27 Club, MGK's local coffee shop and restaurant in the Flats.
I’d be happy to meet there. Was there with MGK a month ago. pic.twitter.com/fvxnQHWO1V— Lee Weingart (@weingart2022) December 10, 2021
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