The Lucas County Republican Party Executive Committee today endorsed Mayor Mike Bell in his bid for re-election, however, the mayor rejected the endorsement.
"I appreciate the support of all Toledoans, but I will not accept the endorsement of any political parties because I am responsible to the citizens of the city," he said in an official statement released by city spokesman Jen Sorgenfrei. "It is my choice to remain a political independent."
The committee, meeting at the party's new headquarters at 323 North Huron St., gave a nearly unanimous vote in favor of endorsing Mr. Bell, who did not seek the endorsement and was participating in The Blade and media partner WTVG-TV, Channel 13's mayoral debate at the time. Mr. Bell released a statement shortly after the debate.
An endorsement for Mr. Bell was not on the committee's agenda, but was brought forward by a motion from the floor. Members questioned whether the party's endorsement would help or hurt the mayor and whether the party should endorse candidates who don't run as Republicans.
But many members said Mr. Bell's actions and policies have closely aligned with the party's values, and that he has stood with Gov. John Kasich on some issues, including the controversial union-related Senate Bill 5.
The committee took a voice vote, and it appeared only one member voted against the endorsement.