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Published: 4/10/2008

Silverman challenges Duffey for county Dems' No. 2 post

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

The A-team/B-team split in the Lucas County Democratic Party will surface again in a contest for the second-highest elected position in the party next Thursday.

Peter Silverman, a former Toledo city councilman and former member of the Toledo board of education, is challenging Dennis Duffey for the post of central committee chairman.

Mr. Duffey, retired business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 8, is a key figure of the B-team wing of the party that took control in 2004 and helped usher in the election of Mayor Carty Finkbeiner in 2005 over incumbent Mayor Jack Ford.

The central committee is made up of representatives of the county's precincts who were elected in the March 4 primary. They elect the executive committee, which elects the party chairman, who oversees day-to-day decisions, such as how the party spends money and who it endorses. The current party chairman, Ron Rothenbuhler, is garnering support from both the A and B teams.

The committee, numbering about 300 people, is to meet at 6 p.m. next Thursday at the United Auto Workers Local 12 hall 2300 Ashland Ave.

Mr. Rothenbuhler said he's not taking sides in the central committee fight. He just wants to make sure the meeting is run fairly for both sides.

"We're following the rules of the state, national, and local party to the 'T' and making sure that people are treated equally and civilly," he said.

Mr. Silverman, considered a longtime member of the A-team wing of the party, said, "There's just been a lot of infighting for a long time, and my thought is I may be able to help bring people together.

"A-team versus B-team is the kind of battle that has raged for a while. I hope I'd be the candidate who brings people together rather than fights," Mr. Silverman said.

Mr. Duffey said Mr. Silverman called him to let him know he was going to run.

"I wished him luck if he's successful," Mr. Duffey said. "I have spent four years trying to get to the bottom of the A-team B-team [dispute]. All the skills I've used in dispute management have brought no results."

The rift is most obvious on Toledo City Council, where the B-team-controlled party in 2006 supported Republican Rob Ludeman for council president. A-team Democrat Michael Ashford ousted Mr. Ludeman for the council presidency in September, but lost the post in January to Councilman Mark Sobczak when B-team Democrats again teamed with Republicans to form a majority coalition.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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