South Euclid mayor spanked in intraparty feud

Cuyahoga Politics Today

By R. T. Andrews


South Euclid mayor Georgine Welo was disciplined by the County Democratic Party last week. 

The action was taken by the Party Unity Review Committee [PURC] after Welo endorsed a Republican who is running against incumbent South Euclid councilwoman Ruth Gray, a fellow Democrat.

Party officials and elected Democrats are prohibited from “actively and publicly” supporting a non-Democratic candidate in a non-partisan race. South Euclid council races are non-partisan.

Gray filed a complaint on July 10 with then-party chairman Stuart Garson, after learning that Welo had endorsed Gray’s opponent, Kenneth Atchinson in this year’s November election. Atchinson has been a registered Republican for the past seven years, according to election records cited in her letter.

The PURC kicked Welo off the party’s executive committee, and rendered her ineligible for party office or party endorsement for the next election cycle. Their action means Welo cannot receive the party’s endorsement if she runs for reelection in 2019.

Gray’s complaint cited other instances where members of the South Euclid Democratic Club have backed a Republican over qualified Democratic black women. Gray also referenced efforts to undermine South Euclid Municipal Court Judge Gayle Williams Byers, contending, “There is a pervasive pattern and practice of animus against African American female Democrats in South Euclid.”

The current political turf battles in South Euclid have given rise to reports that freshman councilman Jason Russell may toss his hat in the ring for the post of city leader, a nongovernmental position currently held by councilman Marty Gelfand.

Gray, who ran against Welo for mayor in 2015 and lost, is seeking reelection to her fourth term on city council. She is also president of the

Cleveland chapter of the National Council of Black Women, a growing presence on the local political scene.

A call to Mayor Welo was not returned for press time.

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