John Cranley & Yvette Simpson face-off in Mayoral Debate

John Cranley & Yvette Simpson face-off in Mayoral Debate (WKRC)

OVER-THE-RHINE, Ohio (WKRC) - Election Day is five weeks from Tuesday.

On Monday night at 7 p.m., Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and the challenger, Councilmember Yvette Simpson, debated the issues.

The event, which was broadcasted live on Local 12, is at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Over-the-Rhine. It was be the second mayoral debate at the SCPA. The last one featured three candidates, but now it's down to two as former UC trustee Rob Richardson came in third in the primary.

There are lots of issues in this race including, according to Local 12 Political Analyst Dan Hurley, is race itself:

“And let's face it, the underlying dynamic in this race is Cincinnati has become more African-American, and who's going to turn to the vote and how much does race make a difference here. Last time, four years ago, John ran against Roxanne Qualls, a white woman. So race wasn't the issue, but it's hard to talk about, difficult to analyze it, but it is really there,” said Dan Hurley.

"He's a consummate politician, but a poor public servant," said Yvette Simpson about Cranley. "That's not what we need."

"That was a lot of name calling, but you know there was no plan," said Cranley in response.

Vying for votes, the two candidates hit their campaign highlights, one of which was the metro system.

With outdated routes and the possibility of a tax levy, where is the system going to head in two years?

"We must intricate streetcar, bus and Uber, taxi and Lyft. In fact we are working with Uber right now where they will put some of their own money into helping people get to the job at the end of a bus line or the beginning of the bus line to get to their jobs," said Cranley.

"What I suggest is what Columbus did. Start by looking at the routes and reorganize the routes. They were able to serve another 100,000 people without adding another operating dollar," said Simpson.

Drugs and treatment were also topics of concern. In Cincinnati, the numbers of overdoses and overdose deaths have passed last year's numbers.

"We should be talking to the people that need treatment and making sure they have space and get their lives back on track," said Simpson.

"Just recently we announced a series of initiatives to get things done. It's easy to criticize from the sidelines. It's hard to lead," said Cranley.

Election Day is November seventh.

Local 12’s Jeff Hirsh asked questions to the candidates on Monday night, as ded Local 12 reporter Angenette Levy and radio talk show host Lincoln Ware.

Local 12 News Anchor Rob Braun was the moderator.

The debate was free and open to the public. It also aired live on Local 12 WKRC at 7 p.m. Monday night.

You can watch the FULL DEBATE here.

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