Candidates stay activeWritten by Justin R. Kalmes | | email@example.com
The election is more than three months away, but the candidates for the Lucas County Board of Commissioners are anything but idle.
For Democrat Ben Konop and Republican George Sarantou, summer has meant trying to attend every festival, parade and sporting event in the area in hopes of convincing voters they are the candidate who
will best represent them on the county commission.
Though both candidates have attended many of the same events, their respective messages sharply contrast one another.
Konop touts himself as the candidate who is for “real change,” while Sarantou uses his business, political and life experience to win votes.
“You get votes campaigning at the festivals,” Konop said. “It’s more important to be in touch with the community.”
Though Sarantou said he has been “campaigning vigorously” this summer, he said local festivals provide him with a great opportunity to meet voters and hear their concerns. He said he has gone to various local events before every election he has been in since he first ran for Toledo City Council in 1997.
“I go to festivals even when I’m not running,” Sarantou said. “I take them pretty seriously.”
Konop said it is important to be accessible to constituents. He said he would continue that tradition if elected.
“The one thing that I sensed from people, regardless of political party, is that they’re ready for change,” Konop said. “I’m going to continue to present myself as the candidate who is for real change.”
Sarantou said he regularly attends events in areas of the city and county that are Democratic strongholds, not just because he is looking for votes, but because it is his duty as a councilman and commissioner candidate. He said he is still fulfilling his job duties as an acting councilman.
“I’ve had many, many Democrats come up to me at festivals and say, ‘I am a Democrat and you are the only Republican I’m voting for,’ ” Sarantou said.
Stan Odesky, a Toledo-area pollster, said summer is a quiet time for most campaigns when candidates are setting their baseline strategies. He said the campaign rush usually begins after Labor Day.
“They all seem to wait until Labor Day to pull out the muscle and the advertising,” Odesky said.
Though candidates in local races are expected to attend summer events and festivals, Odesky said, he assumes many voters have already decided which candidate they would vote for.
“A lot of this is a feel-good time for the candidate to show they are still in the race,” he said.