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Cleveland mayor-elect Justin Bibb discusses transition ahead plus election analysis

Photo of voting booths at U.S. polling station. [Moab Republic/Shutterstock]
Photo of voting booths at U.S. polling station. [Moab Republic/Shutterstock]

The 2021 General Election is in the books and Cleveland has a new mayor-elect.

Justin Bibb will succeed Frank Jackson as the mayor Cleveland.  He defeated Kevin Kelley by a commanding margin of 63-percent to 38-percent in unofficial election results. Bibb led the whole night.

Bibb jumped out to an early lead on election night and never ceded his advantage. He becomes second youngest mayor in the city's history.

In his victory speech, Bibb promised a fresh start for the city.

Cleveland voters also approved Issue 24, a charter amendment that will shift control of police discipline and policies into the hands of civilian.  The measure passed roughly by the same margin by which Justin Bibb was elected as mayor.  Bibb favored the measure while his opponent Kevin Kelley did not.  City leaders had also argued against the measure saying concerns about policing were already being addressed under the Cleveland Consent Decree.

In Cleveland Heights, voters there elected its first-ever mayor.  Kahlil Seren defeated Barbara Danforth.  The election comes after voters approved a measure in 2019 to change its city government from one involving an appointed city-manager to an elected mayor.

Some of the hardest fought races on the ballot involved school board seats.

The Ohio Schools Boards Association says there was a 50% increase in the number of people running for school board seats this year compared to four years ago.

The election of school board members comes as issues such as masking, vaccines, and having discussions on race and racism have led to heated board meetings and clashes of opinion.

The Strongsville School Board will be adding two new conservative voices. Sharon Kilbane and Hayley Christine Stovcik were the top two vote-getters in the race for school board. As part of their campaign, they railed against mask mandates and discussions of race in the classroom.  

Three Cleveland Heights-University Heights school board incumbents successfully defended their seats from challengers.  

  • Justin Bibb, Mayor-Elect, City of Cleveland
  • Richard Andrews, Editor & Publisher, The Real Deal Press 
  • Cait Kennedy, Ph.D. Student, Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University, Executive Director & Co-founder, unBail
  • Jenny Hamel, Education Reporter, Ideastream Public Media


Leigh Barr is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and the "Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable."