CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Cincinnati City Councilman Cecil Thomas tells The Daily Bellwether he's reconsidering his decision that took him out of the contest for a seat on the Hamilton County Commission. Last Friday, Thomas said he would not be a candidate. Now he says he's wavering: "I may do it. I'm hearing from a lot of people, the governor on down. I'll decide by the end of the week." Asked directly if he was leaning toward running, Thomas said "yes." Former vice mayor Jim Tarbell says he's coming out of political retirement and running as a Democrat for the open County Commission seat now held by David Pepper, the Democratic candidate for state auditor. Tarbell served four terms on city council as a member of the Charter Party.
So far, it's not clear if Tarbell would withdraw to clear the way for Thomas or if they would face each other in the May primary. Tarbell could not be reached for comment. (There may be more from him later today.)
Two Republican council members plan to run for Pepper's seat -- Leslie Ghiz and Chris Monzel. Thomas is in his third council term. He is a former police officer and former director of the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission. He is African American, and could make history if he becomes the first black elected to the commission. Thomas said he had been concerned that he would not be able to raise a large enough campaign warchest for the race. He now thinks he could be competitive: "People know me, they know what I stand for, what I'm about."