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Published: Thursday, 12/18/2008

Keith Wilkowski announces candidacy for Toledo mayor

Lawyer and former Lucas County Commissioner Keith Wilkowski announced his candidacy for 2009 mayor of Toledo on Thursday morning on his Web site, www.KeithWilkowski.com.

Mr. Wilkowski leased the former downtown Toledo campaign headquarters of President-elect Barack Obama last month. He previously refused to officially declare his candidacy.

A banner that hangs above a presidential campaign sign at 48 South St. Clair St. reads: "Keith Wilkowski; Turn Toledo Around; Democrat for Mayor."

Mr. Wilkowski, 53, ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2005. He has promised to carry on the theme of "change" promoted by the Obama campaign.

Mr. Wilkowski said his campaign would center on investment in green energy despite the city's $21 million general operating fund budget deficit in 2009.

He suggested in October that the city should spend $50,000 to monitor wind speeds for potential wind turbine locations and, in September, he proposed that $5 million be spent to put solar panels at the Dura Landfill to generate electricity for the city and bolster northwest Ohio’s developing solar energy industry.

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner has not indicated his intention regarding his re-election.

Mr. Wilkowski had nearly twice as much cash on hand for the election as Mr. Finkbeiner, according to semiannual campaign finance reports filed with the Lucas County Board of Election earlier this year.

Mr. Wilkowski raised $65,175 between Jan. 1 and June 30 and retained $59,460 after paying expenses. During the first half of 2008, Mr. Finkbeiner raised $38,300, almost entirely from a single fund-raiser in January. He was left with $31,050 after paying $11,525 in expenses and then adding $4,286 carried over from last year.

Mr. Finkbeiner, who will be 70 on the July 17, 2009, filing deadline, has kept quiet on whether he'll run.

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