Board Of Elections Clears Johnson To Run For Mayor

Edwin Davila (l) and Jeffrey Johnson during Tuesday's hearing. [Matt Richmond / ideastream]

Cleveland Councilman Jeffrey Johnson will be able to run for mayor, according to a decision by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. Johnson’s candidacy was challenged because of a 1998 federal conviction for extortion while he was a state senator.

After Tuesday’s decision, Johnson said he was happy to move on with his campaign.

“I expected the conviction to be dealt with and it has been. It’s an opportunity early in the campaign to get this off the table, so I’m happy about that as well. I’m going to talk about the future but I’m not afraid to talk about this," said Johnson after the hearing at the Board of Elections office.

Ohio law forbids anyone convicted of bribery from holding public office. But the elections board agreed with an opinion submitted by Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh that bribery and Johnson’s conviction for extortion are different offenses and that a state court’s expungement of Johnson’s record clears him to run. Johnson will face Mayor Frank Jackson and several other candidates in a September primary.

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