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Chris Ronayne Launches Bid For Cuyahoga County Executive

Chris Ronayne and supporters during a July 3, 2021, parade in Parma. [Chris Ronayne for Cuyahoga County Executive]
photo of chris ronayne

University Circle, Inc. President Chris Ronayne has launched a campaign for Cuyahoga County Executive.

Ronayne, a Democrat, plans to officially declare his candidacy in November, in preparation for a May 2022 primary, potentially against incumbent Democrat Armond Budish.

Budish has not indicated whether he will run for a third term. His campaign committee’s last fundraising filing with the Board of Elections was in July 2019 and showed less than $40,000 on hand.

Ronayne said his campaign wasn’t launched based on an expectation that Budish isn’t running again in 2022.

“There are people who are going to run in any race on any given day,” Ronayne said. “Some people run for political gain and purpose and some people run because they want to see progress and they want to see ideas be implemented.”

Ronayne has run University Circle, Inc. since 2005. Before that, he was campaign director for the last mayor of Cleveland, Jane Campbell, before the current mayor, Frank Jackson, started his four-term run in office.

He has served as planning director, chief development officer and chief of staff for the city of Cleveland.

Ronayne said he and UCI’s board would decide on a transition plan at the economic development nonprofit after his candidacy is formally launched in November.

In an interview with Ideastream Public Media, Ronayne said his focus as executive would be community health, social justice and economic development.

“This is about competency in government, leadership in government, transparency in government and a participative process to bring a vision to this region,” Ronayne said.

Ronayne would seek a pause on building a new county jail to come up with a more complete criminal justice plan for the county. He also would explore increased use of the county’s airport as a step toward new uses for Burke Lakefront Airport.

Matthew Richmond is a reporter/producer focused on criminal justice issues at Ideastream Public Media.