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Published: Tuesday, 4/8/2008

Democrat exits Ohio District 2 Senate test

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

Sylvia Washburn, a Toledo Public Schools teacher and the Democratic nominee for Ohio s Senate District 2, has withdrawn from the race which would pit her against Republican incumbent Mark Wagoner in November.

I need to withdraw from this campaign for family considerations. That is what has happened. It is just something that I need to do, Mrs. Washburn said yesterday.

She said her mother died recently.

Mrs. Washburn, 57, won the party s nomination against Darwitt Garrett of Sandusky 34,236 to 14,889 in the March 4 primary.

Mr. Wagoner received 20,084 votes, easily defeating two Republican challengers.

Mr. Wagoner of Ottawa Hills was appointed to the Senate seat in January to replace Sen. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green), who was appointed to a vacant House seat.

Mrs. Washburn was recruited by state Sen. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo) in December when Ms. Fedor was still Senate minority leader. Ms. Fedor was ousted in a caucus battle in January.

Ms. Fedor is a former Toledo Public Schools teacher and both of them have been active in the Toledo Federation of Teachers union. Mrs. Washburn confirmed that Ms. Fedor recruited her, but said her withdrawal from the Senate race had nothing to do with Ms. Fedor s loss of minority leader status.

Sen. Ray Miller (D., Columbus), who replaced Ms. Fedor as Senate minority leader and whose job it now is to recruit candidates for open seats, said he hoped to have a replacement soon to put on the general election ballot.

He said the nomination would be made by party leaders in the district and with the recommendation of the Senate Democratic caucus.

I was disappointed that she had to drop out. Her numbers in the primary were very strong, Mr. Miller said.

A teacher at Beverly Elementary School, Mrs. Washburn is an elected member of the Maumee Board of Education. Her term continues through 2009.

The Senate district includes all of Wood County and parts of Lucas, Ottawa, and Erie counties.

Mr. Wagoner said he would continue working with Mrs. Washburn in her role as a Maumee school board member, and continue to campaign at full speed.

We were out Saturday in Port Clinton going door to door. At this point, not having an opponent gives us a very significant competitive advantage going into November, Mr. Wagoner said.

Even though Democratic voters outnumbered Republicans by almost 2-1 in the primary, he noted that Democrats had a competitive presidential race while Republicans did not.

In 2004, the Republican candidate, Mr. Gardner, won with 62.6 percent of the vote, 107,447 to 64,012.

Mike Zickar, chairman of the Wood County Democratic Party, said he had high hopes for Mrs. Washburn.

I thought Sylvia would have been a great candidate, he said. If people are interested, we d certainly like to hear from them.

Contact Tom Troy at:tomtroy@theblade.comor 419-724-6058.



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