Ralph Perk

Ralph Perk

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Ralph Perk

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Ralph Joseph Perk (January 19, 1914 – April 21, 1999) was an American politician of the Republican Party who served as the 52nd mayor of Cleveland, Ohio.

Political career

Perk served five terms on Cleveland City Council from the city's Ward 13. In 1962, Perk was elected auditor of Cuyahoga County, the first Republican to win countywide office in a half century. He was re-elected in 1966 and again in 1970. In 1969, Perk ran for mayor of Cleveland and was defeated in the general election. In 1971, after two unsuccessful attempts, Perk won the Republican nomination for the office of mayor. He defeated future mayor, governor, and U.S. Senator George Voinovich, then a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, in the primary election. Perk went on to win the general election and was reelected in 1973 and 1975. In 1977, however, Perk suffered an upset defeat in the non-partisan primary election for mayor.


As mayor, Perk became the subject of national ridicule on October 16, 1972, when he accidentally set his hair on fire while he attempted to use a welder's torch for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a convention in Cleveland "Cleveland Mayor Gets Hot-Headed", AP report in Amarillo Globe-Times, October 17, 1972, p.1. Mayor Perk was at opening ceremonies for the 1972 "Metal Show and Materials Engineering Congress", and the ribbon-cutting was with an acetylene torch and a metal strip. Sparks from the cutting landed in Perk's...
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