Frank Jackson Will Only Participate in City Club's Mayoral Debate

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Frank Jackson Campaign HQ (9/12/17) - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Frank Jackson Campaign HQ (9/12/17)
Before the Cleveland mayoral election on Nov. 7, voters will have one, and only one, opportunity to see the two candidates go head-to-head in a debate.

At noon on Oct. 19, 12-year incumbent Frank Jackson will debate his opponent, "Safety First" Councilman Zack Reed, at the City Club. As at the primary debate in August, the event will be moderated by ideastream's Rick Jackson.

Frank Jackson's campaign, citing a new campaign strategy, has said that it will only participate in the City Club's debate. Jackson rejected an invitation from local media to sit for a second, alternative debate. 

Throughout September, WKYC's Russ Mitchell, who moderated Jackson's State of the City Address in 2014, was attempting to coordinate this supplemental event. 

Zack Reed, Mayoral Candidate Forum, Clark-Fulton VFW (6/26/17) - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Zack Reed, Mayoral Candidate Forum, Clark-Fulton VFW (6/26/17)
In correspondence with Jackson's campaign, Mitchell had proposed two dates and outlined his vision. Mitchell himself would moderate, with representatives from the Cleveland Press Club, The National Association of Black Journalists and Scene providing additional questions for the candidates.

Mitchell had already received a verbal commitment from Reed's camp. But Jackson's media liaison told Mitchell last week that after the development of the "new campaign strategy," the Mayor had decided to participate in only one debate, the City Club's.

The decision coincided with Jackson's hiring of 30-year-old attorney Michael Bowen to manage the campaign's day-to-day operations. Bowen was brought on in part, via a press release, to "ensure that we have the energetic leadership to take the campaign to the next level."

Zack Reed, meanwhile, today accepted the endorsements from the Teamsters and the Amalgamated Transit Union.

"One of the main tools in rebuilding neighborhoods is the inclusion of residents in the rebuilding process," Reed said, in a release. "Creating an environment that enables job creation an economic opportunities in neighborhoods is essential to full engagement. I am proud to accept the endorsement of two of the most prominent unions in the City of Cleveland."


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