Cleveland City Councilman Anthony Brancatelli, who represents Slavic Village and portions of Tremont and Old Brooklyn, has been removed from the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party's Executive Committee for endorsing Republican Ron O'Leary in the race for housing court judge last month.
The executive director for the County Dems, Ryan Puente, told Scene that Brancatelli was removed in accordance with the party's bylaws, which state that he will be unable to receive a local endorsement for four years. Per Puente, no one has yet been appointed to fill Brancatelli's spot on the executive committee.
Brancatelli told Scene that he endorsed O'Leary in light of his record as the incumbent judge, particularly for his work pursuing the right to counsel for evicted tenants. He said that he'd endorsed O'Leary before any Democratic competitors had pulled petitions and that neither his name nor face appeared on any of the judge's literature.
Nevertheless, O'Leary's challenger — and ultimate victor — Democrat Mona Scott, filed a formal complaint against him. At a hearing after the election, Brancatelli pleaded his case before the party's Unity Rules committee, but was denied.
"They said, 'at the end of the day, you endorsed a Republican,'" Brancatelli said.
According to Puente, Brancatelli may still run as a Democrat (in 2021, for Cleveland City Council, say) but will have to do so without the benefit of the local party's imprimatur for one election cycle.
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