CLEVELAND — About 25% of registered voters, according to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, came out to the polls to vote in Tuesday’s general election in Cuyahoga County as the region picked new mayors, city council members and a member of Congress.
In Cuyahoga County's largest city, the results marked several key victories for those looking to reform Cleveland Police.
Justin Bibb, a 34-year-old nonprofit executive, is set to become the city’s second youngest mayor ever after City Council President Kevin Kelley conceded the race.
Late Tuesday, Bibb held a 62-38 lead over Kelley with a handful of precincts ballots to be counted, according to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
Bibb will replace Mayor Frank Jackson as Cleveland’s mayor. Jackson has led the city for 16 years.
Kelley called Bibb in the 10 p.m. hour to concede.
“I will never forget where I live, I will never forget home, I will never forget the people that made me successful," Kelley said. "And as this campaign draws to an end, remember, we’ve gone along too long with a divided Cleveland, we can’t afford divisions anymore, we can’t afford a Cleveland where we’re not working together.”
Both Bibb and Kelley earned key endorsements heading into the race. Bibb got the endorsement of former Mayor Michael White, while Kelley received Jackson’s endorsement.
Bibb has been active in the social justice movement and helped launch Cleveland Can’t Wait, a nonprofit organization with the mission to advance economic opportunity and racial justice in underserved neighborhoods.
According to his campaign bio, Bibb was an intern for former President Barack Obama when he was a U.S. senator. Bibb would go on to serve as a special assistant for Cuyahoga County, head the Global Cities Practice at Gallup and was a vice president for KeyBank. He is currently the chief strategy officer of Urbanova.
Since he was running for mayor, Kelley will not be on Cleveland City Council for the first time in 16 years. Kris Harsh is set to replace Kelley in Ward 13.
An issue that divided the mayoral candidates mirrored the results of the mayoral election. Issue 24 passed by a margin of 59%-41%, according to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
Bibb was in support of the charter amendment while Kelley opposed.
With Issue 24 passing, a Community Police Commission will be formed, which in conjunction with the Civilian Police Review Board, will oversee police conduct investigations and discipline.
"I'm happy that there will finally be real police accountability and transparency in our community. The CPD has been corrupt for over 100 years. Thank you, Clevelanders, for showing up and showing out at the polls as Cleveland residents. We will make Cleveland better and safer,” said Samaria Rice, the mother of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was killed by police in 2014.
The charter amendment will make some of the most significant police-related changes to the city's charter since the 2015 Department of Justice imposed consent decree went into effect.
The commission will have final authority over establishing the policies, applications and examinations by which new police recruits must be sought out and recruited and screened, including screening for bias, and could conduct bias screening with existing members of Cleveland police.
While supporters claim the amendment will increase police accountability, opponents fear that officers will quit and go to other departments.
Democrat Shontel Brown easily defeated Republican Laverne Gore in the race for the U.S. House in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District. Brown held a 79-21 advantage over Gore with only a handful of precincts left to report late Tuesday, according to the Ohio Secretary of State.
Brown will replace Marcia Fudge, who departed the seat to join the Biden administration as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
"Oh my goodness, without faith I wouldn't be standing here,” Brown told supporters Tuesday. “There's a Bible verse that says ‘faith without works is dead,’ right? And so, I took that to heart. No one will work harder for the 11th Congressional District than I will. "