Don Plusquellic May Run As Independent In Akron Mayor's Race

Don Plusquellic spent 41 years in city government, 28 as mayor.
Don Plusquellic spent 41 years in Akron city government, 28 as mayor. [Mark Urycki / ideastream]
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Former Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic did not register to run for the Democratic primary Wednesday, the last day to so, but he hasn’t ruled out a run for mayor.   

On WAKR’s Ray Horner show Wednesday, the Democrat said he is still considering running, but as an independent.

“I have a little bit of me that says, yeah I’d really like to make up to the citizens for the mistake I made,” Plusquellic said, referring to his sudden decision in 2015 to leave the office he occupied for 28 years, six months before his term was up. “The main reason is that I have so much to give and provide in this tough difficult time. I’d like to do that in a way that’s not partisan. I don’t need the money.” 

If he does decide to run, he said he would make no personal attacks against incumbent Dan Horrigan. 

“I’m not in any way an obstructionist. I’m not the negative guy that’s out there, sitting, taking shots at everybody. I am a guy that knows a significant amount of what it takes to be a good mayor. I know what cities need to do.”

Plusquellic said he is frustrated by both Democrats and Republicans for becoming “extreme” in their political stances. He complained that several members of city council, made up entirely of Democrats, were “unscrupulous, selfish and dishonest people” and said he supports Horrigan’s effort to back a slate of new council members.

His children have discouraged him to run, Plusquellic said, but he sees it as a mission. He explained that he had two near-death experiences since he left office, including rolling a car over while driving in Cuba. It reminded him of returning to work after bypass surgery in 2003.

“I realized I had a short time on this earth and I wanted to do more. I probably had less patience than I should have had and pushed people even harder. But somehow it was like seeing the end of the tunnel, and I wanted to do more before I go there than less.” 

He has until May 6 to decide if he’s running.

WRITTEN STATEMENT by Don Plusquellic Wednesday, February 6, 2019  

We have all watched the terrible partisan politics in DC. I have been frustrated with both parties but as someone who tried to work within the Democratic Party, I was more frustrated with Democrats because we claimed to be the party that cared about real people.

My frustration actually started with the local 'so called' Democrats (some of whom were elected to City Council),who made so many false statements about me that Steve Hoffman wrote "a small group of dissidents ..spread an astonishing array of half-truths, exaggerations and outright lies" to discredit the mayor--without any repercussions from Democrats.

About 3 years ago, the Democrats helped in the defeat of a great candidate for President, Hillary Clinton, by allowing Bernie Sanders in the primary to push an extreme agenda that I could not support.

Last year, I did not vote in the primary election because I could not support either of the Democratic candidates or the party because of the extreme movement of the party. That extreme group makes it almost impossible for rational, common sense candidates to get past the primary.

I certainly could not support the Republican party because the extreme group that controls that party forces good candidates, such as Governor Ridge, out of any chance of getting past the primary. And forces a candidate, Governor Romney,   who did so many good things as Governor of Massachusetts that he received high praise from Democratic Mayors, to abandon excellent policies just to get through the Republican primary. I worked with both of those officials after 9/11 on Homeland Security issues and was very impressed with their abilities.

Therefore, finding myself more independent than partisan and concluding that I cannot support what the Democratic Party has become in the last several years, I will not be filing to run as a Democrat in this years' primary election in the City of Akron.

As I have stated earlier, I have not contacted or placed calls myself to any individual seeking their support. I have only responded to people who have asked me to run again for Mayor of Akron by indicating I would consider it.

Even after the stress of 41&1/2 years of public service and with the memory of the last 6 months of my tenure filed with inaccurate reporting, my heart is still in Akron and with the many great people who are here. So I will take some time to decide whether this is something I should do as the independent person I have become.

I have not made any negative personal attacks on Mayor Horrigan and I realize through my mistake and trust in another individual, he was thrust into the position of Mayor. I join him, regardless of whether I run or not, in the effort to urge the citizens of Akron to help vote out of office the unscrupulous, selfish and dishonest people that were obstructionist demagogues when I was Mayor and are doing the same types of unproductive things to Mayor Horrigan and other honest, hard working Councilpersons.

And if I choose to run, I will pledge to only discuss the policies, programs and plans that are or should be the issues for our citizens to consider for the future success of our city and our citizens and not personal or partisan political smear attacks.

Don Plusquellic

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