State Rep. Nick Celebrezze not running for re-election; Dems to pick ballot replacement
CLEVELAND, Ohio — A couple months after running unopposed in the May Democratic primary, State Rep. Nick Celebrezze has decided he will not run for re-election in November.
Celebrezze, a Democrat who’s represented Ohio’s 15th district since 2012, withdrew his candidacy earlier this month, according to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. He plans to inform his constituents in a letter on Wednesday.
The 15th is a reliably Democratic district in Cuyahoga County, and includes Parma and Brooklyn Heights as well part of southwestern Cleveland. Celebrezze serves in a leadership position for minority House Democrats, and would have been term-limited in 2020.
In an interview, Celebrezze said he decided not to run for re-election for family reasons. Both he and his wife, who is a doctor in Fremont, have been commuting long distances to work. So, they plan to move out of the district to be closer to his wife’s job, he said.
“With two little kids at home... it’s been difficult for us to watch them grow from so far away,” he said.
Democratic Party committee members representing precincts in Celebrezze’s 15th House District will meet Thursday evening at Parma Memorial Hall into pick Celebrezze’s replacement on the ballot.
Celebrezze said he is throwing his endorsement behind a preferred successor — Parma Councilman Jeff Crossman, an attorney who works for Millenia Companies, a Cleveland real-estate company.
Mickey Vittardi, the Democratic ward club leader for Parma, also said he backs Crossman, who has served on Parma city council since 2013.
“He’s a hard worker. He’s very intelligent, and I think he’d be an excellent representative,” Vittardi said.
Alan “R.C” Raventree, a party precinct committeeman and clockmaker in Old Brooklyn, also has said that he plans to run for the seat.
Although Republicans did not field a candidate in the May primary for the heavily Democratic district, under Ohio law, Celebrezze’s withdrawal gives them an opportunity to do so before an Aug. 12 deadline. Cuyahoga County GOP officials on Tuesday had not said what their plans are.
Celebrezze comes from a storied political family. His father, James Celebrezze, is a former Ohio Supreme Court justice, and his great-uncle, Anthony J. Celebrezze, was a former Cleveland mayor and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare.
Nick Celebrezze said he plans to focus on his legal career, but didn’t rule out running for office again in the future.
“I’m proud to come from a long line of politicians, and I’m proud of my family name, so obviously that door could always open again for me to come back in,” he said.