CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — Cleveland Heights voters have chosen the top two candidates — Barbara Danforth and Kahlil Seren – from a field of three in the city’s first mayoral primary in its 100-year history. Residents voted in 2019 to change the city’s charter from the city manager form of government to an elected mayor.

What You Need To Know

  • Cleveland Heights voters narrowed a field of three candidates to two in the city’s first mayoral primary

  • Barbara Danforth and Kahlil Seren will face off in the Nov. 2 General Election

  • Voters decided in 2019 to replace the city-manager government with an elected mayor

  • The city faces aging infrastructure, rising crime and a dwindling tax base

Danforth was the top vote-getter with 46% of votes, followed by Seren with nearly 38% of votes, according to unofficial results from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Tuesday night. Danforth and Seren compete for the mayoral seat in the Nov. 2 General Election.

Melody Joy Hart finished with 15% of votes, the BOE reported. Josephine Moore withdrew from the race.

Earlier in her career, Danforth served as chief prosecutor for the city of Cleveland and assistant attorney general in Iowa. She took the helm of the failing YWCA of Cleveland, turning the organization around to become a model for the nation, she said.

Leading up to the primary, Danforth said running a city is much like running a business.

Transitioning the city’s government and current culture over to the elected-mayor structure will be a challenging responsibility, which she likened to her experience transitioning the YWCA.

Seren has been vice president of Cleveland Heights City Council since 2015. He is also a policy advisor for Cuyahoga County Council, primarily working in economic, community and workforce development.

In 2011, Seren helped County Council transition from a three-member board of commissioners to 11-elected representatives and a county executive. That experience will be necessary for the city to make the transition to the new form of government, he said.

Cleveland Heights is a city of about 44,500 residents with 33,987 eligible voters, according to the BOE. About 19% of those eligible voted in the primary.​ 

Official results are expected 10 days following Election Day.