It's No Joke

It’s early yet but so far this year, Cincinnati’s mayoral race has been pretty boring. That should change soon as a local blogger has jumped into the race, and the Republican Party nears its decision on a candidate.

Officially, only incumbent Mayor Mark Mallory, a Democrat from Mount Airy, has announced he’s seeking re-election. And since the announcement, nothing noteworthy has occurred in the race.—-

Some people wondered if Jason Haap, the blogger known as “the Dean of Cincinnati,” was serious about running for mayor because he announced his intentions on April 1. Some blogs even criticized news outlets for picking up the story, certain that it was a prank. Not so, Haap said.

Haap plans on visiting Board of Elections offices either today or early next week to pull petitions and collect signatures while on spring break from his day job as a school teacher. He’s running primarily because it looked like the GOP might not field a candidate and, regardless, the issues he’s concerned about wouldn’t be discussed in the race otherwise.

“The most important part of the electoral process is to have a deep discussion about the direction of our city,” Haap said. “Unfortunately, we can't count on the major parties to give voters real choices on a number of important issues, and the citizens have been shut out of City Hall which is now corporate occupied territory. This has to be changed and challenged.

“I had hoped a progressive candidate would jump in the race that I could support, but it appears no other progressive is willing to step up and take a stand for reinstating a 1.5 percent minimum of the city budget for health and human service agencies, making sure we have more inclusion for minorities in major projects, maintaining independence of the city's Health Department, election reforms like (instant runoff voting) and public financing, repealing the city's anti-marijuana ordinance, reforming the expungement process for criminal records, opposing the current streetcar plan and improving the transportation for the whole city, and a number of other issues I want to see addressed.”

Further, Haap criticized Mallory for not fulfilling a 2005 campaign promise to represent all of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods.

On the Republican side, party sources tell CityBeat that three people were once considered as potential mayoral candidates this year, but one of those has dropped from the running.

The three are Patrick Fischer, an attorney and community activist from Pleasant Ridge who ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2007; Brian Kelly, a Hyde Park attorney; and Brad Wenstrup, an orthopedic surgeon from Columbia Tusculum.

Fischer has decided he’s not interested but Kelly and Wenstrup remain viable candidates, sources said.

Local GOP Chairman Alex Triantafilou is expected to make an announcement soon. Deadline for filing in the mayoral race is July 2.

If Haap collects enough signatures and qualifies for the ballot, and if the Republicans field a candidate as promised, that means Cincinnati must hold a mayoral primary on Sept. 15 to narrow the field to the two top-finishers.