Democrat Carol Contrada and Republican George Sarantou set themselves apart last night in a crowded field in the race for Lucas County Commissioner.
Ms. Contrada, 58, a Sylvania Township trustee, edged out Ben Krompak, 28, of East Toledo in the Democratic primary, leading with 27 percent of the vote to his 23 percent.
Toledo City Councilman George Sarantou firmly secured the commissioner spot on the GOP ticket. He beat out second place Daniel Steingraber, 52, of Oregon and Andy Glenn, 40, a Springfield Township trustee.
Mr. Sarantou, a lawyer, and Ms. Contrada, who is in her second term as a trustee, will face off in the Nov. 2 election for a four-year term in the commissioners seat.
Finishing third in the Democratic race was Mike Zychowicz, 54, of Sylvania Township, followed by Art Jones, 74, of South Toledo, Earl Murray of Maumee, and Tim Porter, 61, of Sylvania Township.
Mr. Sarantou, 58, of West Toledo, said he was very pleased with the results of yesterday's vote
"Obviously they feel that I can offer the leadership that's needed at the county level," he said by phone from Nick and Jimmy's Bar and Grill in West Toledo.
Ms. Contrada awaited last night's results with her campaign supporters at Treo Restaurant in downtown Sylvania.
"During these tough economic times we need leadership that works and experience that works," Ms. Contrada said.
"And I think my experience working in Sylvania Township - understanding how budgets work and understanding how to bring jobs to Lucas County - resonates with the voters."
Mr. Sarantou, who leads council's finance and budget committee, won the GOP primary in 2006 for this commissioner's seat but later lost to Ben Konop in the general election. Last year he won election to his third term on city council.
Mr. Sarantou said he campaigned hard for victory in yesterday's primary, and plans to meet more residents and knock on more doors from now until November's election.
"We're going to find out exactly what people want and listen to what people need," he said.
"Especially in some of the outlying areas, the citizens have been neglected."
Ms. Contrada also served on the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments and Lucas County Improvement Corp.
A total of six Democrats and three Republicans sought their party's nomination for the commissioner seat now held by Mr. Konop of Toledo, who isn't seeking a second term.
The candidate field was one of the largest in recent memory and materialized quickly in the three days between Mr. Ko,nop's announcement that he wouldn't run and the Feb. 18 filing deadline.
Whoever wins in November will join commissioners Pete Gerken and Tina Skeldon Wozniak on the three-seat board.
Mr. Gerken and Ms. Wozniak are Democrats and both ran unopposed in the 2008 election.
The candidates in yesterday's race took part in several debates and touched on issues from "unigov" - the combining of all municipal and county services under one authority - to whether there's benefit for the city or county to building stadiums and arenas.
Contact JC Reindl at: