Berns drops out of Cincinnati's mayoral race

Jul 31, 2013

In a hand-written letter, Libertarian Jim Berns has told the Hamilton County Board of Elections he is withdrawing from the Cincinnati mayor’s race, saying he does not want “my participation in the illicit mayoral primary” that costs the taxpayers $400,000

But there are still three other candidates on the ballot - Roxanne Qualls, John Cranley, and Queen Noble. That means the September 10 primary will go forward.

Berns, in his letter, said he did not want to “lend any credibility to having a primary for a non-partisan election wasting taxpayers $400,000 every four years.”

But Tim Burke, the chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Elections, said $150,000 has already been spent, primarily on printing ballots and contracts for polling places; and the rest of the money will be spent on hiring poll workers, unless one of the other candidates drops out too.

If there were only two candidates, there would be no primary, and the two candidates would face each other in the November election.

Democrats Qualls and Cranley have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and  hired campaign staff; and have no intention of leaving the race. Noble, who ran dead last in the 2011 city council campaign, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Burke said that Berns’ names is already on the printed ballots and that signs would be posted prominently in polling places on election day saying that Berns has withdrawn and votes cast for him will not be counted.

Berns, who has run for numerous offices in the past, has been campaigning actively for months now. One campaign stunt involved an announcement that he would be handing out free marijuana plants on the corner of Clifton Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The “marijuana plants” turned out to be tomato plants.