Incumbent Toledo Mayor Mike Bell and independent D. Michael Collins will face off in the Nov. 5 election to lead the city of Toledo, according to Lucas County Board of Elections' unofficial results.
Mr. Bell, an independent, received 26.70 percent of the vote, while Mr. Collins pulled in 24.45 percent to secure the second spot in the general election.
Democrats Anita Lopez and Joe McNamara were third and fourth respectively, with Ms. Lopez receiving 22.92 percent of the vote and Mr. McNamara right behind her with 22.44 percent.
Mayor Bell said he expected a general election face off with Mr. Collins.
"I told these guys it would be Collins," the mayor said pointing at his reelection team. "The two [Democratic] candidates were shooting at each other, which they did..."
Mr. Collins called himself the "long-shot horse in the race that came from behind."
Dan Wagner, president of Toledo Policer Patrolman's Association rank and file union, said Collins' support surged after the most recent televised debate.
"People saw how knowledgeable he is... And he took on a whole new persona," Mr. Wagner said.
Ms. Lopez was not present yet today with her campaign supporters at Michael's Bar and Grill on Monroe Street.
Supporters of union-backed Ms. Lopez tried to squeeze as many votes as possible today - calling potential voters up until the last possible moment.
Six people equipped with headsets and laptops autodialed Toledoans from Teamsters Local 20 union hall along the Anthony Wayne Trail in South Toledo nearly until the polls closed.
The message they tried to impress: "it's still not too late to vote."
"I have heard mixed results from people but they are mostly positive for Anita," said Christa Cunningham, a 16-year-old Bowsher High School student volunteering with the campaign for school credit.
"My mother is an Anita supporter," she said. "I remind them that Anita is on the ballot and is an opportunity for change as a woman mayor of Toledo for a difference perspective."
More than 100 people packed into Mayor Bell's election night party at Mulvaney's Bunker bar.
Supporters donned "Mike Bell for Toledo" stickers and hoisted glasses up for the independent incumbent.
Richard Jackson, retired Toledo Public Schools administrator and former Economic Opportunity Planning Association of Greater Toledo, Inc. board member, said the city needs Mayor Bell for four more years.
"Mike has done an excellent job with what he started," Mr. Jackson said.
"I still think it was a mistake aligning so close with Gov. Kasich but Mike just wants to do what's right for the city," he said. "All the things that the other candidates have said they will do, Mike has already started working on or has done."
Mayor Bell said he was greeted warmly by voters at various locations today.
Mr. McNamara, who has an election night party at the Attic on Adams in downtown Toledo, downplayed the early absentee results, noting it was early with election returns.
"I had a really good day - a lot of positive responses at the polls," he said while at the Attic.
He started the day voting at Hope Methodist Church and visited numerous polling places across the city, including Point Place.
Voters who were among the minority who cast ballots, included Everald Brown, 85, who voted in the same precinct as Mayor Mike Bell, inside Pelham Manor in Old Orchard, where he has lived for three years.
"I voted for Mr. Bell. I thought he's done a lot. He's going to do better [in a second term] than what he did before," said Mr. Brown, former building supervisor for Ottawa Hills Schools.
Casting his ballot at Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Baptist Church on Hoag Street in the central city was Kevin Barnes, 57. He said he still hadn't made up his mind and was going to vote after perusing the list of candidates in the machine.
"It's time to get out and make a change in the city - anything other than what we have," Mr. Barnes said. "Get the economy more involved." He said the last mayor who impressed him was Donna Owens, a Republican who served in the 1980s. He said the mayor should come into the neighborhoods and have town meetings.
The candidates for mayor filed campaign finance reports for the first six months showing Ms. Lopez raised the most during the six-month period, $103,393, and ended the period with the least in her account, $23,906.
Mr. Bell, a political independent, raised $91,010, and ended the period with $106,438 in his campaign warchest, the most of the three.
Mr. McNamara raised $90,296, and ended the six-month period with $56,301. The mayor's contributions showed a strong level of support from business owners, many of whom live outside the city, as well as one big business, Penn National Gaming, owner of Hollywood Casino, which gave $5,000.
Ms. Lopez's biggest contributors were labor unions, with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Northwestern Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, and the United Food & Commercial Workers each giving at least $10,000.
Mr. McNamara reported many contributions from Democrats and supporters around the country.
Mr. Collins, a district councilman from South Toledo, operated with the least cash among the four main candidates. He reported contributions of $10,267 and cash on hand of $6,475.