Bell, Collins to face off in November electionWritten by Bailey G. Dick | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The mayoral election will be a battle of the Mikes.
Toledoans voted Sept. 10 to put incumbent Mayor Mike Bell and City Councilman D. Michael Collins on the general election ballot in November. The two winning candidates bested five others, including Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez and City Councilman Joe McNamara, both Democrats. This will be the first time in recent history that Toledoans will not see a Democrat on the general election ballot. Bell and Collins are both independents.
According to unofficial results from the Lucas County Board of Elections, Bell nabbed 26.7 percent of the votes. The race for the final spot was close, with Collins securing a place in the general election with 24.45 percent, while Lopez (22.92 percent) and McNamara (22.44 percent) both came within a few hundred votes of winning. Rounding out the results for the contest were Alan Cox (1.59 percent), Mike Konwinski (1.19 percent) and Opal Covey (0.6 percent). Additionally, 0.12 percent of voters chose the write-in option.
Collins, who pulled off the surprise second place finish despite raising far less money than his three biggest competitors, said he hadn’t yet come to grips with his showing.
“I don’t know if I’ve realized it yet. I feel humbled. That’s the only word to define what I’m feeling,” Collins said.
However, Collins said some of his younger campaign staff were embracing the victory more than he was.
“They’re enthusiastic. The only time I can remember seeing this excitement on faces is when President Obama won, and when they showed the youth in Chicago, you could see the hope in their eyes. We saw hope today,” Collins said.
Collins also said he was satisfied with his campaign, and looks forward to working with the candidates who didn’t make Tuesday’s cut.
“We all ran good campaigns, and the results show that the margin of loss was small. I look forward to working with Lopez and McNamara,” he said.
Collins also noted that although he is an independent, he has his voter base for the November election pinned down.
“They will be men and women who believe that Mayor Bell is not right on right to work, and forgot his roots of public service. He’s the poster child for Senate Bill 5,” Collins said.
Collins and Bell both have a background in public safety. Bell is a former fire chief and state fire marshal, and Collins is a former Toledo Police officer and former union president for the city’s police officers.
Jen Sorgenfrei, public information officer and spokesperson for the mayor, said Bell is excited about an independent versus independent election.
“He thinks having two independents gives them the opportunity to talk very directly to their constituents,” Sorgenfrei said.
And while such a matchup may have come as a surprise to some Toledoans, Sorgenfrei said Bell had been thinking about this scenario.
“He had been speculating that it could be him and Collins because the two Democrats were going at each other,” Sorgenfrei said.
Lopez: Party divided
One of those Democrats, Lopez, said she had come to terms with her defeat.
“I’ve never been third. As soon as I went third, I had a bad feeling,” Lopez said. “But I’m feeling good. I talked to my family, and they’re what’s most important. I’m at peace with it.”
Lopez, who came under scrutiny from fellow Democrat McNamara, said that the feuding was what ultimately led to her demise.
“Our party is clearly divided, and the numbers speak for themselves. A divided party will fail,” she said. “I’ve never been attacked by another Democrat, and it finally took its toll on me.”
However, Lopez said she “respects the wishes of the voters,” and plans to support Collins. And despite her loss, Lopez said she believes something good came out of her run.
“This race has raised a lot of good issues, and each candidate clearly cares about the state of the city,” Lopez said.
McNamara did not return requests for comment.
Toledoans also voted for City Council candidates, narrowing down the field of 17 to 12 candidates whose names will appear on November’s ballot. Six at-large seats are available, and four incumbents are running.
Councilmen Rob Ludeman (13.24 percent), Steve Steel (8.36 percent), Adam Martinez (7.08 percent) and Shaun Enright (6.35 percent) all made it past Tuesday’s primary, and have a shot to reclaim their Council seats.
Former mayor Jack Ford and Toledo Public Schools Board of Education member Larry Sykes also had big returns, with 11.6 percent and 8.36 percent, respectively.
Also moving on to the general election are Sandy Spang, who was among the top three vote-getters with 9.88 percent, as well as former Carty Finkbeiner staffer Theresa Gabriel (8.27 percent), Bill Delaney (4.89 percent), James Nowak (4.62 percent), Joseph Celusta (3.84 percent) and Sean Nestor (3.14 percent).
Candidates Joshua Fowler, Ron Johns, James Martin, Ernest McCarthy and Alfonso Narvaez did not move on.
Voters in Maumee also headed to the polls Tuesday to decide which eight of the nine City Council candidates would square off in the city’s November general election.
Incumbents Brent Buehrer, Mike Coyle, Timothy Pauken and Julie Rubini will take on newcomers John Schafer, Hal Simon, Tom Wagener Jr. and Maria Zapiecki.
One of the precincts in Maumee also had a local option for voters to decide on, which would allow Santa Ana, LLC, which operates La Fiesta Restaurant on Reynolds Road to sell wine, mixed drinks and liquor on Sundays between 11 a.m. and midnight. Voters in that precinct approved the option by a margin of 91.43 percent to 8.57 percent.
Lucas County Board of Elections Deputy Director Dan DeAngelis said the primary election didn’t bring any major problems.
“We’ve had reports of minor problems, from people not showing up, to being late, to minor problems with machines,” DeAngelis said. “It’s an election day, and if we didn’t have any reports, I’d be scared because every election day has minor issues.”
One thing that may have been alarming to election officials was the low turnout of voters. Keeping in trend with other primaries, only 15.11 percent of the 164,645 registered voters in Toledo voted Sept. 10.