Candidates preparing for Toledo’s Tuesday primary election put in another full day on the campaign trail Sunday, aiming to make sure they’ve reached every possible undecided voter and shored up every possible decided vote as well.
Mayor Mike Bell walked door to door in West Toledo and then took in the downtown Greek-American Festival, where he sampled the Greek wine Mavrodaphne while greeting friends and fellow festival-goers.
PHOTO GALLERY: Mayoral candidates campaign
“To be the mayor, you’ve gotta like people,” Mr. Bell said. “I like people, so going out, talking to people, being among them, at the Greek-American Festival, at church, it’s actually fun because it’s not threatening conversation. I’m not forcing anybody one way politically. I’m just talking to them, and I think they have an appreciation for that.”
He walked a West Toledo neighborhood near Sylvania Avenue and Douglas Road with volunteers, talking to residents and distributing political literature.
Mr. Bell, a political independent, is seeking re-election to a second four-year term. He and six other people are on the ballot Tuesday in a race that will narrow the field to two candidates who will face off in the general election Nov. 5. An eighth candidate is a certified write-in.
Polls open Tuesday at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. Voting is also taking place in Lucas County for Toledo and Maumee city councils and a liquor option is on the ballot in Maumee precinct 8.
Democratic candidate Joe McNamara, a city councilman, visited three African-American churches with a new supporter — former Mayor Jack Ford — and planned a visit to the Greek-American festival. He and Mr. Ford ate at Ruby’s Kitchen on Dorr Street in West Toledo, where owner Ruby Butler let Mr. McNamara introduce himself to potential supporters despite the emphatic “No Soliciting” sign outside the restaurant.
“I’m telling people that Jack Ford has endorsed me. He’s been a phenomenal member of the community; he’ll be a great member of council,” Mr. McNamara said of the Democrat and former state representative and mayor who is seeking to join council.
Mr. Ford said opening their doors to candidates is a tradition in black churches, which in the old days served as some of the few places African-Americans enjoyed control.
“Candidates are not only allowed to come, but it’s almost encouraged,” Mr. Ford said, adding that Mr. McNamara was “preaching” at Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church.
Independent Councilman D. Michael Collins, who is the councilman in District 2, knocked on doors in the Ragan Woods neighborhood, and got an earful from resident Bob Boucher, who said he’s considering a move to Whitehouse and is disappointed in the direction the Southwyck area has gone.
“I don’t see a lot of forward progress in this city. I’m concerned about real estate values. I don’t like the Southwyck area being in disrepair. That whole area went from boom to bust,” Mr. Boucher said.
While walking on the street, Mr. Collins was stopped by a man in a blue pickup who asked for a campaign sign and promised Mr. Collins his vote.
Mr. Collins said the “sweat equity” of his volunteers has made him a credible candidate in this election.
“Being a true independent — that’s the only way to compete to the end, and I think this committee has done an outstanding job,” Mr. Collins said.
Democrat Anita Lopez, the Lucas County auditor, met with supporters at the Teamsters hall in South Toledo before starting some door-to-door campaigning. She visited a central-city church, spoke to the Latino Club at St. Francis de Sales High School, and squeezed in time to watch her grade-school-age sons play in a CYO football game.
“We have a message, and we’re positive, and we’re building up momentum every day, and now we’re just making sure folks get out and vote to support us,” Ms. Lopez said. She said she’s talking to people about employment, safe and strong neighborhoods, and the record she said she has as auditor at creating “responsive government.”
Candidate Michael Konwinski, a Libertarian who hasn’t gotten the exposure his better-funded opponents have, said he’s done as much campaigning as he could, and stayed home to watch the Detroit Lions football game.
“It’s kind of a severely uphill struggle,” said Mr. Konwinski, a retired finance worker for the city. “What I’ve done is what’s going to be.” He said he’s running because he wants to correct the city’s financial problems.
Other candidates on the ballot in Tuesday’s election are Alan Cox, a city neighborhood development specialist and political independent, and Opal Covey, an evangelist and unendorsed Republican.
Mr. Cox said he missed the campaign trail Sunday because he was returning from Columbus where he attended a union convention, but he spent part of the day assembling polling location lists for signs.
“I’m going to try to spend an hour Tuesday at each of the larger campaign polling places,” Mr. Cox said. “I’m focusing on getting the mayor’s office running as the charter calls for it to be run. I’m confident I have the kind of skills to be able to do that.”
Ms. Covey, who has switched her political affiliation from independent to Republican, said she was the first candidate to declare she was running for mayor. She said she declared her candidacy on Dec. 1.
Ms. Covey, 72, has run for mayor three other times.
“I’m the most famous lady in the city of Toledo,” she said Sunday. “Donna Owens can’t hold a candle to me,” she said, referring to Toledo’s first female mayor.
Contact Tom Troy at: email@example.com or 419-724-6058.