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Seven Democrats are running for Akron mayor, but sole Republican fails to make the ballot

akron's municipal building
Akron City Hall
Akron City Council
Akron City Hall

Seven people are officially running for Akron mayor. The sole Republican candidate, former conservative talk show host Jim Isabella, did not collect enough signatures to make the May primary ballot.

On Monday, the Summit County Board of Elections certified candidacy petitions filed by the Feb. 1 deadline.

The Democrats are a mix of public officials and a couple of political newcomers. They include Marco Sommerville, Deputy Mayor of Intergovernmental Affairs under Mayor Dan Horrigan; current city councilmembers Tara Mosley and Shammas Malik, and Summit County Councilman and former Deputy Mayor for Administration Jeff Wilhite.

Mark Greer, the former small business program manager under Mayor Dan Horrigan’s administration, also filed, along with Chapel Hill resident Joshua Schaffer and teacher Keith Mills.

All eyes are on the May 2 primary because of Akron’s decades-long history as a Democratic stronghold. Akron voters haven't elected a Republican mayor in more than 40 years.

There was speculation for some time that Mayor Horrigan would not seek a third term. His second term was plagued with challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the fatal police shooting of Jayland Walker and subsequent protests.

After Horrigan announced he was not running again, Sommerville launched his campaign hours later. Horrigan endorsed him two days later.

Schaffer and Malik launched their campaigns before Horrigan’s announcement, while others, like Mosley, said they were waiting to hear Horrigan’s decision before deciding to run.

Independent candidates have until May 1 to file their paperwork.

Updated: February 13, 2023 at 8:33 PM EST
Feb. 13. 2023 - This story has been updated to share that the sole Republican candidate, Jim Isabella, failed to collect enough valid signatures to run for mayor.
Anna Huntsman covers Akron, Canton and surrounding communities for Ideastream Public Media.