All four Toledo City Council incumbents on the primary ballot Tuesday will move on to the Nov. 5 general election, but two will need to do better there if they are to hold onto their seats, and a political newcomer pulled in the day’s third-highest vote total.
Voters winnowed the field of 17 from the nonpartisan ballot down to 12 candidates who will face off in eight weeks for six at-large seats on council.
Incumbents Rob Ludeman, a Republican of South Toledo who served 14 years as the District 2 councilman who is now seeking a second term as councilman at-large; Democrat Steven Steel, of the Old West End who was on the Toledo school board before being appointed and then elected to council in 2009; Shaun Enright, a business agent for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; and Adam Martinez, a Democrat and Realtor, were selected by voters to proceed along with prominent challengers Jack Ford and Larry Sykes -- both Democrats running without party endorsements.
Two of the incumbents, however -- Mr. Enright and Mr. Martinez -- were not among the top six vote-getters, according to unofficial results.
Along with Mr. Ford and Mr. Sykes, the top half of the field instead included challengers Theresa Gabriel, 76, of West Toledo, a retired assistant chief of staff to former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and long-time city employee and union leader, and political rookie Sandy Spang, a Toledo businessman who owns a South Toledo coffeehouse and numerous other commercial properties.
Both women are running as independents.
Mr. Martinez and Mr. Enright were tops among the second six. Also moving on to the general election are independent Bill Delaney, Republicans James Nowak and Joseph Celusta, and Green party candidate Sean Nestor.
Eliminated from the race were Republicans Ernest McCarthy, James Martin, Alfonso Narvaez, and Ron Johns, and Joshua Fowler, a Democrat.
Mr. Ludeman polled the highest number of votes, with Mr. Ford placing second and Ms. Spang coming in third, well ahead of a pack involving Mr. Sykes, Mr. Steel, and Ms. Gabriel.
Mr. Ford is seeking a return to city council after having previously served on that body, as a state legislator, as Toledo’s mayor from 2002 through 2005, and most recently on the board of education, while Mr. Sykes is a school-board veteran.
The two at-large incumbents not running were Joe McNamara, a Democrat who did not seek reelection and instead ran for Toledo mayor in the primary Tuesday; and Republican George Sarantou, who was barred from running for council because of term limits and ran unsuccessfully last year for Lucas County recorder.
Mr. Sarantou credited Ms. Spang with an aggressive campaign in which she got out to neighborhoods and festivals and presented a succinct message about business success and job growth “that obviously resonated with voters.”
“She worked very hard, got out and met people,” he said.
Mr. Ludeman, Mr. Ford, and Mr. Steel all have established political resumes in Toledo, while Mr. Sykes and Ms. Gabriel "did well for first-time candidates" for council, Mr. Sarantou said.
Mr. Martinez and Mr. Enright, on the other hand, will face uphill battles in the November election, he said.
“Both of them have to work very, very hard,” the veteran councilman said, saying that Mr. Martinez’s work, in particular, “is really cut out for him” because he has been on council since the last at-large election, whereas Mr. Enright is a recent appointment.
“His message did not get out,” Mr. Sarantou said, noting that Mr. Martinez had finished sixth in 2009. “Just because you’re an incumbent does not guarantee you re-election.”
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