Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb at the FutureLAND conference in October.
Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb presented his budget to Cleveland City Council. Credit: Nick Castele / Signal Cleveland

As Mayor Justin Bibb closes out his first year on the job, he is indicating he would like to stay at Cleveland City Hall for more than four. 

Bibb told Signal Cleveland in an interview this week that, “God willing,” he intends to ask voters for another term in 2025. 

“If I’m blessed to be in a position to run for re-election, I intend to run for re-election,” he said. “There’s a lot of work to do, and you can’t get it all done in four years. The list is long, very long.”

If I’m blessed to be in a position to run for re-election, I intend to run for re-election.

Mayor Justin Bibb

No candidate has yet announced plans to challenge Bibb. 

Aided by an energetic field campaign, Bibb won a breakout victory in last year’s seven-candidate primary and notched a 26-point win in the general election. This year, he rallied his supporters to knock on doors for Democratic candidates Chris Ronayne and Tim Ryan. 

Adversaries on the campaign trail last year criticized Bibb for switching jobs frequently in the first decade of his professional life. Whether the first-term mayor would seek another office has been a subject of speculation in local politics.

“Being mayor of Cleveland is the best job I could ever have in politics,” Bibb said. “And the only thing I’m focused on is closing out the year strong, taking stock of what worked well this year, what didn’t work well, and how do I be a better mayor this year and the day after that, and, God willing, run for re-election and make the case to voters.” 

Bibb is one of several Ohio Democrats to rise to new prominence in the last few years, along with U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown, Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval, Cleveland Heights Mayor Kahlil Seren, Lima Mayor Sharetta Smith and U.S. Rep.-elect Emilia Sykes. 

But the party faces dim prospects statewide. On Nov. 8, it lost a clean sweep of statewide offices to Republicans – including Ryan’s 6-point Senate defeat at the hands of J.D. Vance. Sen. Sherrod Brown, one of the few Democrats to win statewide in recent years, told in September that he plans to run for a third term in 2024. 

Bibb has continued raising money this year, both from smaller donors and from larger contributors in the legal, construction, real estate and business worlds. 

His campaign committee reported raising about $172,000 in the first half of the year and spending about $104,000, according to an unaudited filing with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. With money carried over from last year, Bibb had more than $111,000 on hand at the end of June.  

Fundraising numbers from the second half of the year won’t be available until January.

Bibb, 35, would be 38 on Election Day 2025. His predecessor, Frank Jackson, served 16 years as mayor and never showed interest in higher office, retiring at the age of 75. 

The new mayor signaled that he doesn’t see his job as a lifetime tour of service. 

“Every day I wake up and come to City Hall is one less day I have in office,” Bibb said. “I won’t be mayor for life.”

Government Reporter (he/him)
Nick joins us from the world of public radio. He has more than a decade experience covering politics and government in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. In 2021, he produced and hosted "After Jackson: Cleveland's Next Mayor," an Ideastream Public Media podcast on the Cleveland mayoral race. He has also covered breaking news, opioid lawsuits and elections nationally for NPR.