Alice Rourke offers Mayor Jack Ford an embrace outside one of the several businesses where the mayor spent the day campaigning.
Toledo's mayor spent the final Saturday before the general election on the run, hoping to generate buzz and goodwill.
After a morning rally, some door-to-door campaigning in the Old West End, and a few meetings, he spent a good deal of time standing in front of businesses, greeting often astonished customers on their way in and out, and even posing for a couple of photos with youngsters.
As he stood at the front of the Kmart on Manhattan Boulevard, a woman greeted him with a bright smile.
After a couple of pleasantries, he cut to the chase.
"I need your help," he said.
"Of course," she said. "What you need?"
"Uh, your vote," he said.
She looked surprised. "You know you have that."
The mayor relaxed, and the two chatted about yard signs.
"Can't wait till Tuesday!" she said as she left.
"Me either," the mayor replied softly.
All day, he asked folk to vote for him, often with a low-key quality not always present in a career politician.
He reminded people not registered to vote to do so for the next election and gave out candy coins to children.
"I'm always an underdog," he said. "I always run scared. I don't take anything for granted. It's always up to what the voters do on Tuesday."
At noon, he attended the funeral of Charles Tisdale, again not seeming to seek out attention. He sat by himself on one side of Friendship Baptist Church on Nebraska Avenue, accepting the handshakes and hugs that came his way, and shaking a few more hands in the parking lot on his way out.
Then came an intensive period of driving from business to business, hoping to find more voters to persuade. Mayor Ford chatted with a handful of folk at Southwyck Shopping Center, then headed north in search of more.
He got a warm welcome at Ruby's Kitchen on Dorr Street, and was asked to leave the nearby Walgreen Drug Store property, which does not allow solicitors or the media, the manager there said, adding that Mr. Ford's opponent, Carty Finkbeiner, was also asked to leave the property of another Walgreen yesterday. From there, Mr. Ford continued to a grocery store and a convenience store.
"You gonna vote for me?" he asked a man outside the 7-Eleven on Bancroft Street, near the University of Toledo.
"Definitely," said Sadeq Mehedi. "My wife too."
The mayor smiled.
Contact Vanessa Winans at: email@example.com or 419-724-6168.
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