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Maple Heights Mayor Annette Blackwell joins Democratic contest for Cuyahoga County Executive

Maple Heights Mayor Annette Blackwell will face off against former University Circle Inc. President Chris Ronayne in the Democratic primary next year. [Annette Blackwell]
Maple Heights Mayor Annette Blackwell in a screen shot from her campaign website

Maple Heights Mayor Annette Blackwell has joined the Democratic contest to succeed Armond Budish as Cuyahoga County Executive.

The two-term mayor formally announced her campaign in a news release Wednesday afternoon, saying that the county stood at a crossroads.

“We are still in the throes of a pandemic; a pandemic that is impacting our entire county,” Blackwell said in the release. “Our next county executive must continue the work on improving life for our residents, businesses and nonprofit organizations. A visionary leader will bring together all county constituents to provide a brighter future for Cuyahoga County. I am that leader.”

Blackwell was first elected mayor of the southeast Cleveland suburb in 2015. Maple Heights was in fiscal emergency at the time. The city faced a general fund deficit of about $2.6 million and had fallen behind on loans taken out for sewer improvements.

Thanks to new businesses, restrained spending and increased property tax millage, Maple Heights shed its fiscal emergency status in November 2020, state budget officials wrote in a report this year.

Blackwell will face former University Circle Inc. President Chris Ronayne in the Democratic primary in May. A Republican candidate, Lee Weingart, is also seeking the office.

Budish announced last month that he would not seek a third term in office.

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