Columbus City Council President Andrew Ginther announced today that he is running to succeed Mayor Michael Coleman as Coleman completes his time in office. It’s long been expected that the 39-year-old Democrat intended to follow Coleman in office and Ginther’s opportunity to do so came when Colemanannounced last month that he would not seek a fifth term.
“My vision is of a city that harnesses our strengths to carry forward the momentum that Mayor Coleman has built over his 15 years leading Columbus,” said Ginther in a press release announcing his decision, strengthening the belief that any candidate for mayor will have to prove that he or she can continue Coleman’s legacy.
Ginther, a resident of Clintonville, joined City Council in 2007 after serving on the Columbus Board of Education. He has been president of City Council since 2011. Alongside Coleman, Ginther has presided over the city’s recent growth and renaissance, but said in his press release that he wants Columbus to be “a city that celebrates its successes without resting on its achievements.”
In recent months under Ginther’s leadership, the Council has taken an increasing focus on the city’s less fortunate, which has led to measures providing funds to OSU’s Star House for homeless youth and an aggressive effort to combat Columbus’ infant mortality rate, a public health crisis which Ginther described as “unacceptably high.” According to the Columbus Dispatch, Ginther said his effort against infant mortality is one of the things he plans to highlight during his campaign.
So far the only other candidate running against Ginther is fellow Democrat Zach Scott, the sheriff of Franklin County, who announced his intention to run the day after Coleman announced his intention not to run. Local Republicans have not yet announced a candidate, and the high percentage of Democratic voters in the city makes it unlikely a Republican will occupy the mayor’s office in 2016.
Elected officials in Columbus are nominated in a non-partisan primary, and in a mayoral race the two candidates with the most votes in the primary are able to move on to the general election. This creates the potential for an unusual Democrat vs. Democrat situation on Election Day.
Coleman has not yet endorsed any candidates for his job and would not speculate on candidates after announcing his decision not to run again. Nevertheless, Coleman and Ginther have enjoyed a largely friendly and productive working relationship in their respective leadership roles.by