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The "Comeback Kid": How John Cranley fought to retain his position as Mayor

The "Comeback Kid": How John Cranley fought to retain his position as Mayor (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley was reelected, defeating Councilmember Yvette Simpson 54% to 46%.

After coming in second in the primary, Cranley said he thought he was “a goner.”

So how did the mayor end up being the mayor again?

“Let me say this comeback city has made me the comeback kid!” said Cranley.


John Cranley is mayor again because he came back from a surprise, coming in second to Yvette Simpson in the mayoral primary.

“It was a very humbling experience. My wife kept telling me it was a blessing in disguise. It didn't feel that way at the time,” said Cranley.

But it forced Cranley to change tactics. He focused less on television ads and put more attention on door-to-door, face-to-face campaigning. It worked.

Something else which worked was relentlessly attacking Simpson over her ill-fated vote, trying to get millions of dollars from Children's Hospital for Avondale in return for a “yes” vote on rezoning.

Let’s put it this way. Remember what Joe Biden said about Rudy Giuliani? Every sentence he states contains a noun, a verb, and 9-11? Well, it seemed every sentence Cranley stated had a noun, a verb, and Children's Hospital. That worked too:

“I voted for Cranley because of Children's Hospital. I voted for Simpson in the primary but I couldn't bring myself to vote for her,” said Ted Gantz, a Mt. Auburn voter.

Cranley had big support from city employee unions, who appreciated the pay raise he got them.

“It takes a leader like John Cranley, who recognizes that it's the little people who make things work and he gives them some recognition and some reward,” said Cincinnati Police Sgt. Dan Hils, who is the president of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Also critical is that Cranley cut in to Simpson's margins in African-American neighborhoods. Cranley did not carry those neighborhoods, but did much better than many expected.

“I voted for Cranley. I didn't want to vote just because she is a woman and African-American. I did look at their platforms and what they're doing. I really haven't seen her much in the community. It was a tough decision. I thought long and hard about it, but I voted for Cranley,” said Christina Williams, a Mt. Auburn voter.

In the end, it all added up to victory. John Cranley is Cincinnati’s Mayor.

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