Just when it looked like two established Democratic candidates might go head-to-head for a vacant seat on Toledo City Council, both said today that they have decided against seeking the position.
Councilman Adam Martinez, who lost his bid for re-election at-large Nov. 5, and former Councilman Frank Szollosi said in separate interviews that they would not be candidates for the appointment, mainly because of the time demands.
That leaves in the race for the Democratic endorsement Karen Shanahan, 67, a retired logistics consultant, who ran for council in 2005 and 2007.
On the Republican side, Marcia Helman, 63, owner of a South Toledo ice cream store and former arts liaison for the city, is planning to run.
Because Democrats have a majority of votes on council, the endorsed candidate of the Lucas County Democratic Party is considered the most likely to win the appointment that is expected to be made on Jan. 2. The seat is currently held by independent D. Michael Collins who will be sworn in that day as mayor. The party is scheduled to hold screening interviews Monday.
Regardless of who council appoints, the choice will go to the voters on May 6 to fill the rest of Mr. Collins’ term.
Mr. Szollosi, 41, who has been meeting with political officials for about three weeks, said he realized that he will not have time for the job because he has been appointed to a new position in his job. He is the Regional Outreach Coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation in Ann Arbor. He has been assigned to run a statewide campaign in Ohio to promote federal policy changes to avert the effects of climate change.
“There are a lot of good people in South Toledo. The district seat was designed for citizens to step up and contribute citizen leadership for the city. I have the greatest confidence that civic-minded folks in South Toledo will step up and do that,” Mr. Szollosi said.
Mr. Szollosi was appointed to an at-large seat in 2003, and elected that year and in 2005, and did not seek re-election in 2009.
Mr. Martinez, 35, a Realtor, who officially ends his term on Jan. 2, said, “I was talking it over with my wife and being a district representative is a lot of responsibilities. I don't think I would have the time to commit what needs to be done.”
Mr. Martinez drew the ire of the state's Democratic Party for supporting Mayor Mike Bell rather than Mr. Collins even though both men are political independents. Mr. Collins had the state party's backing mainly because of labor outrage with Mr. Bell for his support of the ill-fated Senate Bill 5 campaign in 2011 to undercut public employee union rights. Mr. Martinez finished the election in seventh place by just six votes, though he came in fifth among District 2 voters.
"We will have to wait and see what happens in the event an at-large appointment becomes available, I might throw my hat in the ring or maybe consider a different office,” he said.
Under council rules, council has 30 days beginning Jan. 2 to make a selection and then it goes to the mayor.
The Democratic Party screening committee is scheduled to interview applicants on Monday, but the deadline to apply was last week.
Staff writer Ignazio Messina contributed to this report.