2 political heavyweights say they won’t run for mayor of Cincinnati

For the first time in months, the field for Cincinnati’s top executive job got smaller.

2 political heavyweights say they won’t run for mayor of Cincinnati
Former Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory (Source: The Enquirer/Adam Birkan)

CINCINNATI (FOX19/Enquirer) - Two well known Cincinnati politicians are bucking the trend in this year’s mayoral contest — by keeping their hats out of the ring.

Former Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and former Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper will not seek Cincinnati’s mayoralty in 2021, our media partners at the Enquirer report.

Mallory, who was mayor of Cincinnati from 2005-2013, began pulling petitions in late December. He told the Enquirer of his recent decision not to run that it was a difficult choice.

Local business leaders, according to the Enquirer, had hoped a Mallory or Pepper candidacy would solidify a race that, practically speaking, lost its frontrunner when council member P.G. Sittenfeld was indicted on corruption charges in November.

The field has ballooned since then.

Coming into the winter, the four-candidate race comprised Sittenfeld, council member David Mann, local activist Kelli Prather and retired Cincinnati firefighter Raffel Prophet.

Between December and mid-January, state Sen. Cecil Thomas, council member Wendell Young, university professor Herman Najoli, tech entrepreneur Adam Koehler and Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval all announced their candidacies.

Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman has said he will reconsider a run after dropping out in January 2020 following the death of his wife.

Council member Chris Seelbach says he is considering a run as well.

Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus has been asked to run and has not publicly said she will not, according to the Enquirer.

The deadline to file for candidacy is Feb. 18.

The primary will be held May 4.

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Copyright 2021 WXIX. All rights reserved. The Cincinnati Enquirer contributed to this report.