4 city council incumbents advance

Ludeman polls highest; Ford 2nd in dash to Nov. 5

9/11/2013
BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Councilman Steven Steel.
Councilman Steven Steel.

All four Toledo City Council incumbents on the primary ballot will move on to the Nov. 5 general election, but two will need to do better if they are to hold onto their seats, while a political newcomer pulled the third-highest vote total.

Councilman Adam Martinez
Councilman Adam Martinez

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.

Councilman Shaun Enright
Councilman Shaun Enright

Incumbents Rob Ludeman, a Republican from 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 are Democrats running without party endorsements.

Councilman Rob Ludeman
Councilman Rob Ludeman

Incumbents 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 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, with Mr. Ford placing second and Ms. Spang in third, well ahead of a pack involving Mr. Sykes, Mr. Steel, and Ms. Gabriel.

Mr. Ford is seeking a return to City Council. He also served as a state legislator, as Toledo 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 re-election 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, noting 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.”