Newsmakers: Incumbents largely kept seats in 2012Written by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
In addition to the presidential election, 2012 saw several dramatic races both in Ohio and in Toledo, with many incumbents keeping their seats.
In Lucas County, there were seven levies on the ballot. Voters passed all but two: Toledo Public Schools’ (TPS) 4.9-mill levy with about 52 percent of votes against it and the City of Toledo Recreation 1-mill levy with about 54 percent against.
After results were in, Lisa Sobecki, president of the TPS Board of Education said, “Of course, I’m disappointed. … On the other side, I saw how close the numbers were. I can see we are making some ground,”
She also said the district will likely need to pursue another levy in the future and that she would work to “make Columbus aware of our needs” when it comes time for state budget plans.
The Imagination Station’s 0.17-mill tax levy ended up passing once an official recount went through. The Toledo-Lucas County Public Library’s 2.9-mill levy, the Metroparks’ 0.9-mill levy, the Lucas County Mental Health & Recovery Services’ 1-mill levy and the Lucas County Children Services’ 1.85-mill levy also all passed.
Before the election, the levy glut prompted Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken to propose the potential idea of an umbrella levy or combining the “back of the house operations,” like the human resources and administration of different agencies.
“It’s time for the commissioners to have this conversation about if there isn’t a better way to do it,” he said. “This ballot is very levy-heavy and for the first time, there will be real winners and losers when there shouldn’t be.”
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur also had a busy year. In March, Kaptur, who has 30 years of experience in Congress, defeated U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich in the primaries for the recently redrawn District 9. Kaptur’s district now includes parts of Cleveland.
“I have great loyalty to my home community, but I also know I have a responsibility to the new parts of the district,” she previously said. “It’s exciting to go into a new community and meet new people and learn what their concerns are.”
In November, Kaptur faced Republican Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, and Libertarian Sean Stipe. She earned about 73 percent of votes in that race.
“It’s gonna be a rough next couple years and the way I see it is we have ourselves to blame because we settled for the status quo,” Wurzelbacher said of the 2012 results.
Also in 2012, incumbent Sherrod Brown defeated Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel in the race for U.S. Senate. Brown earned about 50 percent of the vote compared to Republican Mandel’s 45 percent. Independent Scott Rupert had about 5 percent of the votes.
Brown, who has been a senator since 2007, cited the auto rescue as a triumph during his previous term.
“All the Toledo-area manufacturers were in trouble and people thought their whole way of life was going to collapse,” he said. “We went to bat for them.”
One local race took center stage in Lucas County: the contest to become Lucas County recorder.
Two at-large councilmen, George Sarantou and Phil Copeland, vied for the position. Copeland won with 56 percent of votes. That race featured dramatic moments, including Sarantou criticizing Copeland for missing about 20 council committee meetings in 2012.
The race saw further conflict when an anonymous postcard, claiming that Copeland lied about receiving his GED, came out in October. Copeland said he attended Scott High School in the ’60s and received his GED in 1976. Sarantou organized a news conference and said he was not responsible for the postcard.
Copeland said he would like to learn about his new office before making plans.
“I can become a part of the group that’s there. I’m not going down there to tear it apart. I haven’t heard one bad thing about that office.”