Zack Reed Leaving Job with LaRose, Undoubtedly Preparing to Launch Cleveland Mayoral Bid

click to enlarge Zack Reed, Mayoral Candidate Forum, Clark-Fulton VFW (6/26/17) - Sam Allard / Scene
Sam Allard / Scene
Zack Reed, Mayoral Candidate Forum, Clark-Fulton VFW (6/26/17)

Former Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed confirmed to Scene that today will be his final day working for Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

Reed, who ran for Cleveland Mayor in 2017 and has long been rumored as a potential repeat candidate in 2021, has worked as a minority affairs coordinator for LaRose since 2019. His departure was first reported by

"We’ll miss having him out in the field where he helped boost voter engagement and strengthen minority businesses," Frank LaRose said in a farewell statement, "but I know his heart is in Cleveland and I wish him nothing but the best.”

Like many of the other presumed candidates for mayor, Reed prefers to be noncommittal about his political future. But he has hinted on many occasions over the past several years that another run was possible, if not likely. Last summer, he participated in an ongoing series of City Club conversations with presumed candidates, where he said he was "leaning towards" running. That's as good as a promise.

On the heels of a summer of racial justice protests, Reed said then that he'd changed his mind about his 2017 plan to add hundreds of police officers to the streets as a solution to violent crime. But he said that defunding the police was not the right answer either. 

Reed came in second in the 2017 primaries and, despite a much more active ground game and the year's most memorable campaign slogan — "Nothing stops a bullet like a job," — he lost decisively to incumbent Mayor Frank Jackson in the November runoff. Jackson coasted to victory on his war chest of campaign contributions. 

Reed represented Ward 2 during his 16 years on City Council, a southeast side ward that includes his home neighborhood of Mt. Pleasant. (That also happens to be the home neighborhood of nonprofit executive Justin Bibb, one of the few candidates to officially declare.) Reed has said before that though he's largely been out of the headlines for the past four years, he believes his base is still strong on Cleveland's southeast side.

Leaving the employ of LaRose was considered a prerequisite for Reed's campaign launch, so though he says he's still exploring his options, an announcement is likely imminent.

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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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