Original story by Gary Seaman Jr. – This Week Community News

The race for Columbus mayor heated up last week, when City Council President Andrew Ginther entered the contest, as expected.

The 39-year-old Clintonville resident said he offers good judgment, experience and a vision for the future.

Ginther, council president since 2011, said his campaign will be “all about neighborhoods.”

“I think a lot of folks are starting to think about me and my service differently,” he said.

“And it’s important for me to show them how I govern. And the best way for me to do that is run a campaign that’s inclusive, ambitious and one that focuses on building coalitions and organizes constituencies in the city.”

Ginther is vice president of community affairs and outreach for the Children’s Hunger Alliance. He and his wife, Shannon, have a young daughter.

He said he consulted with his wife about his potential run to replace Mayor Michael B. Coleman, who is not seeking re-election to a fifth term.

“This impacts all of us,” Ginther said. “We both have pretty demanding jobs and roles outside of our home.”

So far, Ginther and Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott, both Democrats, are the only two who officially have announced their candidacy in the non-partisan primary.

Other Democrats are expected to announce their candidacy in upcoming weeks, which could make for a crowded primary.

Ginther said he doubts that will strain the party.

“I’m a big believer in democracy and if folks want to run for office, I encourage them to,” he said.

No Republican has stepped forward, although state Rep. Jim Hughes (R-Clintonville) has said he is considering a run for the mayor’s office.

Ginther served on the Columbus City Schools Board of Education from 2001-06 and was appointed to City Council in 2007, when he replaced Matt Habash. He was elected to that same post later that year and re-elected in 2011.

Ginther said Coleman will be a tough act to follow for anyone. The current mayor has had a string of successes, from revitalizing downtown to securing a AAA bond rating to managing the city through considerable financial difficulty.

“I consider him to be not just a great partner and mentor, but also a friend,” Ginther said.