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Published: Friday, 7/15/2011

Candidates file petitions for municipal court races

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER
Michelle Wagner, right, and Judge C. Allen McConnell, center, who is seeking a third term, file petitions to run for openings on the Toledo Municipal Court bench. Lori Jacek of the elections board is at left. Michelle Wagner, right, and Judge C. Allen McConnell, center, who is seeking a third term, file petitions to run for openings on the Toledo Municipal Court bench. Lori Jacek of the elections board is at left.
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Michelle Wagner, a prosecutor in Sylvania Municipal Court for the last 15 years, filed her signature petitions Thursday with the Lucas County Board of Elections to run for a seat on Toledo Municipal Court in the November election.

And a different general election contest for Toledo Municipal Court -- that for the seat of Judge Robert Christiansen -- got a little wider Thursday with the entrance of a new candidate.

Friday at 4 p.m. is the deadline for candidates to file their petitions to run for office in Toledo City Council and Municipal Court, and Sylvania City Council.

If her nominating petition is approved by the elections board, Ms. Wagner, 44, a Democrat, will face Republican Mark Davis, whose petition was certified June 14.

The two are competing for the seat being vacated by Democratic Judge Francis X. Gorman, who is not seeking re-election.

Ms. Wagner said she will run on the theme of being the most qualified candidate in the race because of the 20 years she has spent in municipal court work, including five years as the law clerk for former Municipal Court Judge Thomas Osowik and 15 years as prosecutor in Sylvania.

She got her law degree from the University of Toledo and undergraduate degree from Bowling Green State University.

A Toledo native, the former Miss Jankowski said she grew up in the Polish Village and then graduated from St. Ursula Academy. She and her husband, David Wagner, live in South Toledo and have three sons.

Mr. Davis, 42, ran unsuccessfully in 2009 for municipal court and last year for Lucas County Common Pleas Court. He has practiced law for 12 years in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

Mr. Davis received his bachelor's degree at Miami University of Ohio and his law degree at Ohio State University. His private practice includes civil and criminal cases. He grew up in Ottawa Hills and was the high school valedictorian at graduation.

Mr. Davis said his campaign will focus on keeping citizens safe from crime, on starting court on time, and on offering a night court as an alternative for people who can't come to court during the day.

Also filing petitions Thursday was Judge C. Allen McConnell, who is seeking a third term as the court's housing judge. Republican Josh Lanzinger has been certified to run for the same seat.

Lourdes Santiago, a longtime city attorney, said Thursday she would file signature petitions Friday to run against incumbent Republican Judge Robert Christiansen, who has already been certified to the ballot on Nov. 8.

Ms. Santiago, a Democrat, is a senior attorney in the city law department. She was an assistant chief of staff under former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and served in 2006 as an appointed city councilman.

Ms. Santiago said she is filing to run as the Democrat in case endorsed Democrat John Coble is not certified. Mr. Coble submitted petitions in May and then submitted new petitions in June when he learned his earlier submission did not have enough signatures.

Supporters of Judge Christiansen have filed a protest alleging that Mr. Coble cannot re-file his candidacy. The Lucas County Board of Elections tabled a vote on certifying Mr. Coble to the ballot pending a ruling from the Ohio Secretary of State.

Contract Tom Troy at: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.



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