Daniel Contreras announced yesterday that he will forgo March s Democratic primary and run against longtime Lucas County Sheriff Jim Telb as an independent.
Mr. Contreras, 65, said the move will allow him to campaign against Mr. Telb, who has been sheriff for two decades, for seven additional months before facing him in an election. He had not filed his petitions on Jan. 2 to run in the Democratic primary.
Mr. Contreras made the announcement at his North Reynolds Road campaign headquarters yesterday morning.
A former captain under Sheriff Telb, Mr. Contreras said he plans to draw support from Democrats and Republicans in the race and sees the race for sheriff as one that should be nonpartisan.
He referred to Harry Barlos, a Democratic Lucas County commissioner who is running as an independent to keep his seat, as one of his inspirations for the decision.
Oregon police chief Thomas Gulch, a former Toledo Police captain, is running in the race as the endorsed Republican.
Mr. Contreras, who retired from the department a year ago after 30 years of service, said he needed more time to get his message out to the community. He said it was not an effort to duck Sheriff Telb in the primary.
“I want to take [Mr.] Telb head on,” Mr. Contreras said. “By running as an independent, it will allow me to maximize my opportunity for the citizens of Lucas County.”
Paula Ross, Lucas County Democratic Party chairman, said since Mr. Contreras didn t file for the March primary, running as an independent was one of his options. Ms. Ross said he did not win the party s endorsement for sheriff.
“We think Sheriff Telb has a solid base of support,” Ms. Ross said. “He has done a good job under some difficult circumstances. Those people who are dissatisfied will now have two choices and we think that s good because they will split [the vote].”
Ms. Ross said she did not see Mr. Contreras move to run against Sheriff Telb as a knock against the party. Mr. Contresas said he was running as an “independent Democrat.”
“I think it will good for the party when Sheriff Telb wins re-election,” Ms. Ross said. “I don t see why this announcement is news now because we ve known since Jan. 2 he would have to run as an independent.”