Jeff Johnson to Challenge State Senator Sandra Williams in 2018


Jeff Johnson talks with supporters at his Glenville HQ after placing third in the Cleveland mayoral primary, (9/12/17). - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Jeff Johnson talks with supporters at his Glenville HQ after placing third in the Cleveland mayoral primary, (9/12/17).
Late Friday, former City Councilman and recent mayoral candidate Jeff Johnson announced that he will seek statewide office in 2018. He intends to challenge incumbent Sandra Williams in the 21st District of the Ohio State Senate. Johnson represented the district, which encompasses Cleveland’s east side and many of its eastern inner-ring suburbs, from 1990-1998.

In a statement, Johnson said that he would work to provide increased funding for local municipalities.

“Our state government must stop undermining local governments, taking away valuable resources and ignoring the challenges local officials and citizens have to fight each day,” Johnson said. “I want to go to the State Senate and fight for Northeast Ohio and local municipalities across the state.”

Sandra Williams, who recently ran for the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Chair, said she’d been told she could expect a primary challenger after she defied the establishment by taking on Shontel “Not a Puppet” Brown. Williams ultimately lost in the county party race, despite a plea from outgoing Chair Stu Garson for members to vote for either Williams or Newburgh Heights Mayor Trevor Elkins instead of Brown.

“Of course, it could be because Jeff [Johnson] is unemployed and needs somewhere to go," Williams told, assessing her challenger.

For his part, Johnson said he has already secured the endorsement of Congresswoman Marcia Fudge and new City Councilman Anthony Hairston, who has replaced Johnson in Cleveland’s Ward 10.

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