John Cranley

John Joseph Cranley (born February 28, 1974) is the 69th and current mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio. A member of the Democratic Party, he was a member of the Cincinnati City Council and a partner of City Lights Development. Cranley is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard Divinity School and co-founder of the Ohio Innocence Project at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. Before his election as mayor, he was an attorney with the law firm of Keating Muething & Klekamp.

John Cranley
69th Mayor of Cincinnati
Assumed office
December 1, 2013
Preceded byMark Mallory
Personal details
John Joseph Cranley

(1974-02-28) February 28, 1974
Green Township, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Dena Cranley
EducationJohn Carroll University (BA)
Harvard University (MTS, JD)
WebsiteOfficial website


Cranley was born in Green Township to John Joseph "Jay" Cranley (born 1946) and his wife, Susan (born 1947). His father is a life estate planner and Vietnam veteran who served in the United States Army, and his mother a former teacher and librarian. Cranley was raised in the Price Hill neighborhood of Cincinnati.[1] He attended St. William's Primary School and graduated from St. Xavier High School in 1992. He graduated from John Carroll University magna cum laude in Philosophy and Political Science and served twice as student body president. He earned his JD (juris doctorate) from Harvard Law School and a Master of Theological Studies from the Harvard Divinity School. He taught two undergraduate legal and philosophy courses at Harvard College while attending graduate school. During his second and third years at Harvard Law School, he worked as a student attorney for people who could not afford legal counsel. In his third year of law school, he was elected First Class Marshal and delivered the Harvard Law School graduation speech on behalf of his class.[2] In 2019, Cranley was voted reader pick for "Best Conservative" in Cincinnati CityBeat's annual Best of Cincinnati.[3]

Cincinnati City Council

Cranley served on city council from 2000–09.[4] In 2003, he led the push to create Tax Increment Finance districts in Cincinnati.[5] Cranley served on the following committees: Arts, Culture, Tourism & Marketing; Economic Development; Law and Public Safety; and the Transportation & Infrastructure sub-committee. Cranley resigned from City Council in 2009 after seeking advice from the Ohio Ethics Commission.[6]

Incline District Development

Cranley worked to restore the historic Incline District of East Price Hill. He developed a $5 million project which consists of condominiums and a restaurant.[7]

Ohio Innocence Project

In 2002, Cranley co-founded the Ohio Innocence Project at the University of Cincinnati College of Law and served as administrative director from 2002–2006. As of March 2019, the Project had exonerated 28 wrongly convicted individuals.[8] Cranley's argument before Ohio's 5th Appellate District Court led to the 2006 reversal of Christopher Lee Bennett's conviction of aggravated vehicular homicide. Bennett had served four years of a nine-year sentence before the Project was able to use DNA to help overturn his conviction.[9]

Political campaigns

In 2000 and 2006, Cranley lost in Ohio's 1st congressional district race to incumbent Steve Chabot, with 45% of the vote in 2000, and 48% of the vote in 2006.

Cranley won the September 2013 primary election for mayor of Cincinnati, defeating Roxanne Qualls in the November 2013 mayoral election.[10][11] He was sworn in on December 1, 2013.

Cranley ran for reelection in 2017 Cincinnati mayoral election. His leading opponent was Yvette Simpson[12][13][14] according to a poll sponsored by Simpson.[15] Following a close mayoral race Cranley won reelection as Mayor of the City of Cincinnati for a second term ending in January 2021.[16] Cranley is now term limited.

Additional service

Mayor Cranley previously served on the boards of the Freestore Foodbank, Mercy Hospital Foundation, and the Jesuit Spiritual Center. [17] Cranley was named a 2014 Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow.[18]


  1. John Cranley profile,; accessed April 21, 2014.
  2. "Full Biography for John Cranley". Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  3. "Best Conservative". Retrieved 2019-03-28.
  4. Cincinnati City Council website; accessed April 21, 2014.
  5. "TIF districts set to spur development". Retrieved 2013-02-06.
  6. "Cranley to resign from Cincinnati City Council". Retrieved 2013-11-11.
  7. "Cranley to sever ties with Incline Village". April 3, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2013.
  8. "Evin King Released as OIP Celebrates #25". Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  9. "Second Man Earns Freedom as Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Ohio Innocence Project". Retrieved 2013-02-06.
  10. Cincinnati mayoral primary: Cranley sweeps past Qualls by 2,000 votes Archived 2013-09-12 at the Wayback Machine
  11. "Cranley elected next mayor of Cincinnati". Archived from the original on December 5, 2013. Retrieved April 21, 2014.
  12. Wilkinson, Howard (August 10, 2016). "Yvette Simpson Launches 2017 Mayoral Campaign To Unseat Cranley". WVXU. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  13. Swartsell, Nick (August 17, 2016). "Mayoral race underlines rift among Cincinnati Democrats". Cincinnati CityBeat. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  14. Williams, Jason (February 16, 2017). "Cincinnati mayor's race is set". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  15. Wetterich, Chris (March 6, 2017). "EXCLUSIVE: Yvette Simpson has a poll in the Cincinnati mayor's race. Here's what it says". Cincinnati Business Courier. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  16. "WCPO: 2017 Mayoral Race Results: John Cranley wins race for second term". Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  17. "Facebook: Mayor John Cranley: Personal Information". Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  18. "Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship Class of 2014". Retrieved 2017-06-13.
Political offices
Preceded by
Mark Mallory
Mayor of Cincinnati
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