Candidates will square off at Mayoral Debate

Candidates will square off at Mayoral Debate (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Cincinnati voters will narrow the choices for mayor next Tuesday.

On Monday night, three candidates will debate live on Local 12 WKRC.

The three candidates for Cincinnati mayor will debate in front of a live audience at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Over-the-Rhine.

Officially the primary is non-partisan, but the city of Cincinnati is overwhelmingly “Democratic” and the three contenders are all Democrats.

It is safe to make this prediction with confidence: The two who come out of the primary election will be a democrat and so will the mayor:

There are two names you know pretty well and one name working to establish name recognition.

Incumbent Mayor John Cranley and Councilmember Yvette Simpson have been in the city hall headlines for years.

Rob Richardson, Jr. is a former chair of the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees and he will be running as the outsider.

So far early turnout is, well, rather dismal.

Of the more than 200-thousand registered voters in the city, fewer than 1% have requested early ballots. That's through this past Friday.

The director of the board of elections predicts a 20% turnout on election day, May 2.

“It's typical for an election that's not occurring in the fall. when most people think of election day, they think of Tuesday in November, not in May. so it's typical of this type of election, a special primary election,” said Sherry Poland, the Director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

Those who do turn out in a primary tend to be dedicated voters, party regulars, "political junkies," if you will.

Judiciously spent money can make a difference when turnout is so low.

“Cranley, he has a huge war chest. he's going to spend it well. you know his messages are tested and polled. he's going to say the things he wants people to hear to be re-elected. but again, with primary voters, especially, you see a lot of the decisions made near the end. people aren't thinking about it until right before, even less so than in the general election, so if you're a challenger and you've saved up your money and you spend it in the last week or so there’s a chance to move the needle,” said Xavier Political Science Instructor Sean Comer.

The magic number in the primary is two. Top two “voter-getters” move on to November while number three goes home.

Among the issues likely to come up on Monday night are these: The city budget and the projected $25 million deficit and what might be cut, the increase in shootings and how to fight crime and no doubt, somebody will mention the streetcar.

Rob Braun will be Monday night's moderator, the panel will consist of reporters Jeff Hirsh and Deborah Dixon and radio and television host Lincoln Ware.

Attendees are asked to arrive no later than 6:45 p.m. on Monday and the debate begins at 7 p.m.

If you can't make it down, you can watch it live on Local 12.

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