Thursday, May 24, 2018
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A vote against the bosses

THE election Tuesday of Ben Konop and Joe McNamara was a resounding victory for two promising young public servants, but it was much more than that. It was a blow against political bossism in Lucas County.

Mr. Konop, 30, won his race for county commissioner handily over George Sarantou, while Mr. McNamara, 29, emerged at the top of a six-way contest for an unexpired term on Toledo City Council despite the fervent efforts of the clique that controls the Democratic Party in this county.

The outcome is thus a victory for the Toledo community. We welcome fresh new leadership, chosen by voters who sensibly ignored the wishes of those who would control candidates and officeholders from behind the scenes.

Instead of pushing friends and sycophants to the ballot, these party bosses, including Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, John Irish, Dominic Montalto, and local labor leaders, should be encouraging good prospects from diverse backgrounds to run, and the cream will rise to the top.

Fortunately, Mr. Konop and Mr. McNamara are the cream of this year's candidates, but they got elected with little help from a fractured Democratic apparatus that has become a dysfunctional shadow of its former self. With two losses this year alone of council candidates backed by "B Team" Democrats - Taylor Balderas and Lourdes Santiago - maybe B Teamers are appropriately named after all.

Indeed, the primary reason Mr. McNamara and Mr. Konop were victorious was that they both campaigned tirelessly over the past few months, a remarkable display of the energy we believe will ensure long and valuable public careers for both.

Mr. McNamara, in particular, undertook his campaign as a personal crusade, giving up his legal work from June onward and spending $65,000 of his own money. That's real dedication, and the self-assurance shown by both men was obviously well-received by voters.

We're looking for great things from Ben Konop and Joe McNamara, and we're proud that these home-grown candidates had the gumption to overcome the intransigence of party leaders who should have been helping them.

Other Lucas County Democrats, "B Team" and otherwise, should take note of how both young men defined success in the public arena on their terms, not the bosses'.

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