In January, I wrote that no one of any stature was planning to run against Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson this year. Turns out, one person is: Bill Patmon, who was a city councilman from Glenville from 1989 to 2001.
Patmon ran for mayor in 2005 and got only about 2 percent of the vote. But that's not a good measure of his political abilities, or the prominence he held for a time in Cleveland politics.
Check out "Lone Wolf," a profile I wrote about Patmon in 2001, if you want to know more about him. The story describes how he broke away from then-mayor Mike White (a former ally), helped engineer a "coup" that brought an anti-White faction of council to power, aggressively challenged the White Administration as council's finance committee chair -- and paid for it in the 2001 elections.
Patmon lost his council seat that fall. Did out-of-control ambition bring Patmon down, or principled opposition to an out-of-control mayor? Patmon himself admitted his fights with White and attempts to become council president helped bring him down -- he said so when I interviewed him for our coverage of the 2005 mayor's race. (For that interview, click here and scroll down to the 4th item.)
I think we're witnessing the rebirth of a dormant political bloc that will challenge Frank Jackson and council president Martin Sweeney. While Patmon runs for mayor, his friend Jeff Johnson is also mounting a political comeback, trying to get elected to the Glenville city council seat both men once held. Johnson is not a Jackson ally -- he served in Jane Campbell's administration. I wouldn't be surprised if Patmon and Johnson work together on each other's campaigns. Update, 7/1: Not so, says Johnson. He e-mailed me to say he's staying neutral in the mayor's race. See this new post.
Of the other candidates for mayor, the only one I know anything about is Laverne Jones Gore, a perennial candidate for various offices who I interviewed in 2001 for a story about how lonely it is to be a Republican in Cleveland. Henry Gomez previews the mayor's race on his City Hall blog today.