A Closer Look At Candidates In Cincinnati's Mayoral Primary

On May 2, Cincinnati voters take their first step in deciding who will be the city's mayor for the next four years.

There are three candidates in the May 2 primary; and all three are Democrats – incumbent John Cranley, Council Member Yvette Simpson, and former University of Cincinnati trustee Rob Richardson.

They may all be Democrats, but no party designations are on the non-partisan ballot; and any registered voter in the city – Democrat, Republican or independent – can cast a ballot. The Republican Party did not field an endorsed candidate for mayor and the Cincinnati Democratic Committee has not endorsed in the race.

The candidates who finish first and second in the May 2 primary will face each in the November election.

Read the full story here or click below for individual profiles.

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On May 2, Cincinnati voters take their first step in deciding who will be the city's mayor for the next four years.

There are three candidates in the May 2 primary; and all three are Democrats – incumbent John Cranley, Council Member Yvette Simpson, and former University of Cincinnati trustee Rob Richardson.

John Cranley
Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

John Cranley was only 26 in 2000 when he burst on to the political scene, taking on Republican Steve Chabot in the First Congressional District, losing with 45 percent of the vote.

Six years later, he tried again, taking on Chabot in a another race where he lost with 48 percent of the vote.

A graduate of St. Xavier High School, Cranley has an impressive academic record – a magna cum laude graduate of John Carroll University in philosophy and political science and degrees from both the Harvard Law School and the Harvard Divinity School.

Rob Richardson
Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

Rob Richardson, a 38-year-old Mount Auburn resident, knows he owes much to family members who came before him for the successes he has had in life – earning a law degree and an electrical engineering degree at the University of Cincinnati, serving for nine years as a trustee of his alma mater, and now as he attempts to stake out a path for himself in politics.

Back in early January, before a packed house in a hall in Corryville, Richardson announced his candidacy for mayor – as a first-time candidate for any elected office – and spoke movingly of the story of his family.

Yvette Simpson
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Born to a mentally ill mother and drug-addicted father, Yvette Simpson was raised by her grandmother in Lincoln Heights until the age of 16. Then, when her grandmother had to move into senior living; and the teenager spent the last two years of her schooling at Princeton High School bouncing around, living with friends and other families.

All of her young life, she was surrounded by poverty, crime and violence.

"I saw people who were really good people, who were really hurt people, who ended up doing very violent things,'' Simpson told WVXU.