Democrats select union official to replace mayor-elect on council

Screening committee sought young candidate for District 2


The Lucas County Democratic Party selected a union official Monday as its pick to replace D. Michael Collins on city council upon his resignation to take over as mayor.

Lucas County Democratic Party Chairman Ron Rothenbuler said the party’s executive committee selected Matt Cherry, 33, of 1649 Carmelle Ct., a business agent for Sheet Metal Workers Local 33.

“The screening committee decided they wanted a young person who would be committed to work hard and stay on as the District 2 representative in May because that is a district that has been lacking for Democrats,” Mr. Rothenbuler said.

The final say goes to the 11 councilmen who remain on the board after Mr. Collins is sworn in Thursday as mayor.

But the Democratic Party’s endorsement is considered highly influential, because the current council is mostly Democrat.

A special election in May will determine who holds the seat after that.

Mr. Rothenbuler said Mr. Cherry’s union ties played a role in the decision.

“We expect the unions to support a candidate but that was the only thing,” he said.

Mr. Cherry, who was a Democratic central committee member for one term, said he wants to continue the work of Mr. Collins in the district.

“What Mr. Collins has done with District 2 has amazed me, and I feel I can be the next guy to keep District 2 on track and make the neighborhood even better,” he said.

Outgoing at-large councilman Adam Martinez, a commercial Realtor and endorsed Democrat and who narrowly lost his re-election bid last month, was among those seeking the endorsement.

Also applying for the endorsement were Karen Shanahan, 67, of 3633 Denise Dr., and Clark Felgner.

Ms. Shanahan ran in 2005 for an at-large seat and in 2007 for the District 2 seat that went to Mr. Collins. No additional information, including age and address, was available for Mr. Felgner.

Also seeking the appointment and the seat — though not through the Democratic Party — is independent Marcia Helman, a business owner.

She is backed by Republican at-large Councilman Rob Ludeman, who once held the District 2 seat that covers most of South Toledo.

Molly McHugh Branyan, a Democrat with family ties to Toledo politics, withdrew her name last week for the Democratic Party endorsement. She ran in 2007 for the District 2 seat. She was the endorsed Democrat in 2007 in the District 2 race against Mr. Collins, a political independent. Her father, John McHugh, was a city and county officeholder in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s. He was Toledo’s mayor from 1989 to 1993.

Council has up to 30 days to make a choice. After that, the mayor can select the appointee; however, Mr. Collins said he would not appoint a member if council is unable to reach a decision within the 30 days.

Along with Mr. Martinez, council incumbent Shaun Enright came up short on Election Day last month and will not return to council.

Mr. Enright, an endorsed Democratic and union backed candidate, was appointed to his council at-large seat in January with the backing of the Democratic Party chiefly because of his union affiliation. He was an organizer for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 8 at the time.