Bill Mason's had enough. Cuyahoga County's prosecutor, targeted by Plain Dealer investigators, shadowed by the question of why he didn't catch the government's corruption, says he won't run for re-election in two years.
Mason revealed his plans yesterday at a taping of WKYC-TV 3's political talk show, "Between the Lines." The full show airs Sunday, but political reporter Tom Beres reported highlights on TV 3's newscast last night.
Mason also told Beres he doesn't believe he's a target of the federal corruption investigation -- and (in a sign that he means it) he hasn't hired a lawyer to address the possibility.
Update, 10/23: The FBI is investigating whether Mason or an aide pressured coroner Frank Miller to hire his ally Pat Coyne, according to the PD. Mason says he welcomes the investigation and did nothing wrong.
The full interview won't come out until Sunday, so we don't know why Mason's moving on after 2012. But this has been the worst year of Mason's 12 years as prosecutor. Think about all the hits he's taken: his treasurer's DUI, the PD report on his staff's political connections, the law professor's op-ed asking why Mason didn't bust Frank Russo and Jimmy Dimora, and now a relentless series of PD investigative pieces about his hiring and contracting.
Mason's decision means even more power shifts are coming in Cleveland politics. One of the Democratic Party's strongest factions is going to weaken, then break up or evolve.
That makes the county executive race even more important. If Ed FitzGerald wins, his political network will become the new force dominating the west and south ends of the county, with Frank Jackson and Marcia Fudge as the counterweight. FitzGerald used to work for Mason, so it'd be interesting to see how much of the Mason network would align with him. If a non-Democrat beats FitzGerald, it's hard to even imagine where political clout in the Democratic Party shifts next.