Mayor's race heats up in Akron

Plusquellic, Williams trade shots before primary

AKRON, Ohio - Akron city councilman Mike Williams, who is challenging incumbent Don Plusquellic for mayor, cast his vote early at the Summit County Board of Elections Wednesday afternoon.

Plusquellic hasn't decided if he'll vote on Monday or on primary day, Tuesday, September 13.

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The democratic primary election features two men locked in a contentious battle that could shape up as a close race.

There has been name-calling from both campaigns. Williams said Plusquellic is "combative" and "bullies people." Plusquellic called Williams "a liar" who "makes false promises."

Plusquellic has held the city's top job for 24 years, since 1987.

During an interview from City Hall, Plusquellic said he's proud of his record of achievement and economic development.

"We've worked very hard. 470 small businesses that my economic development staff have worked on. We've kept Goodyear, kept Bridgetsone/Firestone," Plusquellic said.

From his campaign headquarters, Williams was critical of the mayor on the jobs issue.

"We've lost jobs that Akronites had. Those companies have moved out because, I think, we have been inattentive to their needs," Williams said.

Williams, a city councilman for 24 years, also criticized the mayor's leadership style.

"I dislike how he interacts with people. I dislike how he treats people," Williams said.

But Plusquellic refers to himself as "a doer" and questioned whether Williams could be a leader without any management history.

"I have no respect for a person in the political arena or in the business arena that makes up lies and tells lies to get ahead. What has he done in the last 14 years?  And, I can tell you what it is. It's nothing,"  Plusquellic said.

Williams sees crime, jobs and youth concerns as the major issues facing Akron. He's made a campaign promise to not cut police and firefighter jobs.

"Public safety is the number one issue of city government," Williams said.

In response to Williams' promise to not trim the jobs of safety forces, Plusquellic said, "I don't make false promies. What I do is tell people that I'll work hard, I'll look everywhere I can to find new ideas."

A third democratic candidate, Janice Davis, is also on the ballot for Tuesday's primary.

The winner will advance to the November general election and face the winner of the Republican primary race between Jennifer Hensal and Katie Marie Wilkins.

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