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Published: Sunday, 9/29/2013 - Updated: 11 months ago

Collins escalates push for mayor job with TV ads

Blitz to share his message with voters kicks off today

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

Mayoral candidate D. Michael Collins hits area television screens today with an aggressive advertising blitz, the first of Toledo’s general election campaign.

Mr. Collins’ ads will debut during the morning public-affairs talk shows and also run during professional football games later in the day, as well as during local news shows Monday.

An independent, Mr. Collins is taking on incumbent Mayor Mike Bell, also an independent, in the Nov. 5 general election.

The two men — Mr. Collins, a retired police officer, and Mr. Bell, a retired city fire chief — emerged as the nominees from a field of eight candidates in the Sept. 10 primary.

Mr. Collins’s ads are mostly the same as the ads he used during the primary: Straightforward introductory pieces, but with the addition of some of his recent labor endorsements and a trailer of two cute granddaughters saying, “Collins Cares.”

“I think it is very important, given that we had a less than 16 percent voter turnout in the primary, that we get our message out early. We need to inform voters so that they can make an informed choice, not a choice out of emotion,” Mr. Collins said.

Mr. Collins spent much less in the primary than that expended by Mr. Bell or two Democrats who ended up splitting the Democratic vote, Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez and Toledo Councilman Joe McNamara.

As the favorite of labor unions hoping to oust Mr. Bell, Mr. Collins said he is beginning to receive campaign contributions.

B.J. Fischer, director of strategic services for FLS Group/​Thread Marketing Group, which is consulting with Mr. Bell on media, could not say when Mr. Bell’s commercials would begin airing.

“We haven’t made that decision yet. We didn’t have any [commercials] the last time until relatively late. We will have enough TV on to be able to tell Mike’s story before the election,” Mr. Fischer said.

Matt Zaleski, vice president of marketing for AB&B Ergonomics, a local firm that is handling media for Mr. Collins, said his ads are timed to coordinate with the start of early voting on Tuesday and the mailing of absentee voter ballots.

The ads first will appear during Leading Edge on WTOL-TV, Channel 11; Fox News Sunday on WUPW-TV, Channel 36, and Conklin & Co. on WTVG-TV, Channel 13.

The campaign also has reserved spots during today’s Lions-Bears and Eagles-Broncos games on WUPW; NFL Sunday Night Football on WNWO-TV Channel 24, and newscasts Monday on all four local network affiliates. More ads are planned later in the week.

Mr. Zaleski said the campaign decided it could continue using the ads produced during the primary because so many voters did not participate in the election.

“The argument can be made that they did not see the commercial, or if they saw it, they were not interested and basically ‘tuned out’ on the message. So we have to once again, tell the voters who Collins is and what he stands for,” Mr. Zaleski said. The message can be changed, he said, for advertising buys later in October and November.

Ad buys expected from unions and the Ohio Democratic Party — likely to be more negative in tone — are still to come. The state party voted Thursday night in Columbus to get involved in the Toledo mayoral race on Mr. Collins’ side, even though he is not a registered Democrat. The local Democratic Party voted earlier to stay neutral.

Mr. Collins, a former police union president, was opposed to Senate Bill 5, the 2011 law that would have constrained public-employee bargaining rights and was defeated in a statewide referendum. Mr. Bell supported Senate Bill 5.

Mr. Zaleski said Mr. Collins is also running print ads in the Point Place/​Shoreland Journal, The Sojourner’s Truth, and Tuesday in The Blade.

Contact Tom Troy at: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058 and follow on Twitter @TomFTroy.



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