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Shontel Brown, Kevin Kelley Reelected to Lead Cuyahoga County Democrats

Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley and County Councilwoman Shontel Brown were reelected as vice chair and chair. [Nick Castele / ideastream]

Shontel Brown prevailed against a challenge to her leadership of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party on Saturday, winning about two-thirds support from party central committee members.

The Cuyahoga County Council member’s running mate, Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley, was reelected vice chair by a similar margin.

The pair defeated former county council president C. Ellen Connally and Newburgh Heights Mayor Trevor Elkins, who had support from progressive activists.

“For the good of the party, I hope you will all rally around the victor so that we can join together and all focus on winning in November,” Brown said to applause from the audience.

More than 600 members of the party’s central committee voted Saturday morning at Euclid High School, representing voting precincts across Cuyahoga County.

Cuyahoga County is critical for Democrats, who derive a large portion of their statewide support from Northeast Ohio. Brown said the county party would work with the Ohio Democratic Party to boost voter turnout.

Asked how she’d bring in party members who didn’t vote for her, Brown said she would reach out to them.

“Going to meetings, answering questions, have an open-door policy,” she said. “Anyone that has anything, a question, concern, suggestion, idea, I welcome that and I always have. So that will continue.”

After the vote, Elkins took the lectern to throw his support behind the winning ticket.

“Listen we’re going to support Shontel and Kevin,” he said, “and we’re going to make sure Democrats win in November.”

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