XU presents Cincy mayoral debate

Cintas Center hosted the first Cincinnati mayoral debate on Tuesday night

By Ethan Nichols, Staff Writer

Xavier hosted the Cincinnati mayoral debate between Democrats David Mann and Aftab Pureval on Tuesday  night in the Cintas Center.

City Councilmember Mann and Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Pureval faced off in the first debate of the election. The one-hour debate was hosted by the Cincinnati Enquirer, WVXU and the university. Enquirer Opinion Editor Kevin Aldridge moderated the debate, and questions were posed by Enquirer reporter Sharon Coolidge, WVXU reporter Becca Costello, history professor Rachel Chrastil and Student Government Association President Mickey Townsend. 

Costello posed one of the first questions of the night.

“Some have said the two of you have run a pretty non-confrontational campaign so far. Some voters are even saying they have difficulty distinguishing between the two of you as candidates,” Costello said. “What is the biggest difference between how you would lead as mayor, versus how your opponent would lead?” 

“It’s a good thing that this campaign has been based on plans and not based on petty personal attacks,” Pureval responded. 

“I think what we’ve seen the last four years on the national and on the local level of what happens when pettiness, when personal attacks infect our city government and our national government. It’s been intentional from our end to run a substantive and positive campaign,” he added.

“It’s still not clear to me what Mr. Mann’s vision is yet,” Pureval added.

Mann responded by criticizing the variety of Pureval’s political career. 

“My opponent… has been very busy running for a variety of offices. And in January, just days after taking the oath of office for his second term as clerk, he announced he was a candidate for mayor,” Mann said. 

Newswire photo by Emily Croft
Cincinnati mayoral hopefuls David Mann and Aftab Pureval took to the podium on Xavier’s campus in the Cintas Center on Tuesday night. The campaigns will culminate on election day, November 2.

Additionally, Mann criticized Pureval for his lack of experience and his plans for police reform in the city.

“We do not serve our community well by saying our officers are the problem. And Mr. Aftab’s campaign materials that are filled with the proposition something has to be done to make Cincinnati safe from the police for its citizens,” Mann stated. 

The Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed Mann, while many pro-reform groups and individuals have backed Pureval, including Our Revolution Ohio and Hamilton County Sheriff Charmaine McGuffey. 

Mann also received some criticism for an incident last summer, in the midst of anti-racist movements across the country.

Mann shut down a public city budget hearing in response to the behavior of some attendees, describing “a real concern for the safety of not just me, but the citizens who were sitting there trying to participate in a public hearing.” 

Pureval criticized Mann on this point, saying: “You turned your back on a Black Lives Matter hearing and walked out.” 

“The very next day, your two staffers decided to quit in disgust. How can we expect you to lead the city if you can’t even lead your two staffers?” Pureval asked.

The debate focused heavily on areas of affordable housing and violence. The mayoral election will occur on Nov. 2.