Dayton mayor race: 3 things to know about the candidates

The candidates running in the May 4 election to replace Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley are a political newcomer, a former mayor and a current city commissioner and long-time elected official.

Voters will narrow the three candidates — Rennes Bowers, Gary Leitzell and Jeff Mims Jr. — down to two in the May 4 election. The top two vote getters will face off in November to succeed Whaley, who isn’t seeking reelection.

Looking into the candidates is one of the important local investigations published by Dayton Daily News reporters in the past week. Consider joining efforts to produce quality local journalism like these investigations with a Dayton Daily News subscription.

Here are three things to know about the candidates.

Rennes Bowers said he decided to run for mayor because the 72-year-old resident was heartbroken by what he described as divisive and hateful rhetoric going on across the city and nation. Bowers, who retired from the Dayton Fire Department after 30 years, said he is a uniter, a solution-oriented problem-solver and a “servant leader.”

Gary Leitzell was elected mayor in 2009 and served one term before coming in third in his reelection bid in May 2013. Whaley went on to defeat A.J. Wagner in November 2013 to replace Leitzell. He won office by defeating a two-term incumbent, Rhine McLin, even though he spent a small fraction of what she did on the race.

Jeff Mims Jr. is finishing his second term on city commission. He previously worked as a teacher and served as president of the Dayton school board and the district’s teacher’s union. Mims, a U.S. Air Force veteran, said he has spent his life serving his country and community, and he is deeply committed to improving the quality of life for Dayton residents.

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