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Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson is retiring, and for the first time in 16 years, City Hall is getting a new leader. What do the seven candidates offer? What do voters want? Host Nick Castele goes on the campaign trail in "After Jackson: Cleveland's Next Mayor" from Ideastream Public Media. Follow: Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | Feed

After Jackson: Cleveland's Next Mayor - Bonus Episode: Election Day

Justin Bibb and Kevin Kelley speak with media in the final weeks of the Cleveland mayor's race. [Nick Castele / Ideastream Public Media]
Justin Bibb and Kevin Kelley speak with media in the final weeks of the Cleveland mayor's race.

When all the votes are tallied, either Kevin Kelley or Justin Bibb will walk away from today’s election as the next mayor of Cleveland.

Today enjoy a bonus Election Day episode of our podcast, After Jackson: Cleveland’s Next Mayor.

Both candidates spent the final weekend of the campaign working to rally their voters to the polls. Bibb dropped by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections on Friday to vote with his 92-year-old grandmother, Sarah Presley.

Afterward, Bibb talked with media about turnout.

“We’re always concerned about making sure our voters show up and vote,” he said. “And so we’re going to be doing everything we can in the home stretch, knocking on doors, calling voters, texting voters. I’m canvassing all weekend, I’ll be in a couple churches on Sunday as well to do everything we can to make sure our coalition shows out on Nov. 2.”

The next day, Bibb hit the streets with former primary opponent Zack Reed to knock on doors in Ward 2, which Reed used to represent on Cleveland City Council. They spoke with voters at their doorsteps, on the street – and in one case, through an upstairs window.

Earlier that morning, Kevin Kelley rallied supporters with the building trades and the Cleveland Teachers Union at PJ McIntyre’s, a bar in West Park. They planned to canvass wards on the West Side, where Kelley will need to win many votes.

“We are where we need to be, but we’ve got to keep our foot on the gas through Tuesday,” Kelley said. “It is mission critical that we do everything right, that we execute on the plan that we have set forth.”

Joining him were Cleveland Teachers Union President Shari Obrenski and Dave Wondolowski of the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council.

Wondolowski aimed his remarks at the media – including this reporter, the only journalist in the room.

“I’ve been doing this for a while now, and I’ve never seen a candidate in a city of Cleveland election not only have to battle his opponent, but also have to battle the media,” he said. “You’re smiling, but I’m talking about you, okay?”

Wondolowski is one of two Democrats on the four-member Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, which is running today’s vote.

“You want to send a tweet out today, send one out that makes sense, that’s true, okay?” Wondolowski continued. “Cause I’ve never seen, I’ve never seen, I’ve never seen the Plain Dealer and other media outlets favor a candidate like I’ve seen here. So when we win this election on Tuesday, we’re going to kick the sh-- out of the media outlets. We’re going to kick the sh-- of out Justin Bibb. Right? We’re going to win!”

Kelley stood next to Wondolowski while the crowd cheered him on. The campaign later said Wondolowski was out of line.

At the end of today, we’ll see whether Kelley kicks the you-know-what out of his opponent – or whether his campaign kicks the bucket.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.