THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
Is it just Joe versus Anita?
There are five other people besides Joe McNamara and Anita Lopez in the race for Toledo mayor who will be on the Sept. 10 ballot. But a recent campaign mailer makes it look like only the two Democrats are squaring off.
Mr. McNamara, a Toledo councilman, mailed an undisclosed number of oversized, glossy postcards attacking Ms. Lopez, the Lucas County auditor. It makes no mention of Mayor Mike Bell, Councilman D. Michael Collins, or the others in the race.
The top four candidates have all promised to share their messages on future television commercials. The mailer this week appears to be the first mass communication of the mayor’s race. The McNamara campaign declined to reveal how many cards were mailed or how recipients were selected.
“For Mayor, Who Can Toledo Trust? Joe McNamara New Leadership We Can trust Or Anita Lopez Too Many Ethical Questions,” the card reads.
On the flip side, Mr. McNamara prints his ethics pledge, which he signed soon after announcing his candidacy while challenging Ms. Lopez to do the same.
The pledge includes refusing campaign contributions from all government employees whom he has the ability to hire or fire and their immediate family members.
The mailers accuse Ms. Lopez of taking care of “political cronies” with jobs in the auditor’s office, costing taxpayers $70,000 in settlements with three employees she fired, and of speaking publicly without consulting political handlers.
The Lopez campaign dismissed the mailer.
“With only a month until the Sept. 10 primary, this is the last-ditch effort of a campaign that has failed to gain any traction,” Lopez spokesman Diane May said. “Anita Lopez is spending the final weeks of her primary campaign talking to voters one-on-one about how she is going to create jobs, safe neighborhoods, and responsive government. As auditor, Anita Lopez saved taxpayers 9 million dollars while reducing government waste and improving customer service.”
Mr. McNamara rebutted, saying she cost taxpayers money. “Lopez has actually cost taxpayers money through raises for political cronies and improper firings that cost $70,000,” he said. “I think voters deserve an ethical candidate for mayor who is not going to politicize city hall like she has the auditor’s office."
Mr. McNamara challenged Ms. Lopez to a one-on-one debate but Ms. Lopez refused, saying she would only debate all the candidates.
Mr. Bell, running for re-election, could not be reached for comment Thursday. Mr. Collins said the anti-Lopez mailer was a negative campaign tactic.
“I am of the opinion that the voters in Toledo as well as nationwide are just totally put off with negative campaigning and I believe that individuals should campaign based upon their record but more importantly their own individual platforms,” he said.
Also on the ballot for mayor are Independent Alan Cox, a city neighborhood development specialist and president of one of the city unions, Republican evangelist Opal Covey, and retired city worker and Libertarian Michael Konwinski. Running as a write-in candidate is Donald Gozdowski.