Toledo Councilman and former Mayor Jack Ford filed as an independent candidate for the Toledo state Senate seat Monday, pitting himself against incumbent state Sen. Edna Brown (D., Toledo) and Republican nominee Ernest McCarthy in November.
Mr. Ford, 66, turned in more than 2,400 signatures — well above the required 893 — at the Lucas County Board of Elections, just two hours before the filing deadline.
Mr. Ford’s name won’t appear on today’s partisan primary election ballot for the 11th Senate district, in which Ms. Brown is unopposed for the Democratic nomination and Mr. McCarthy for the Republican nomination.
Mr. Ford articulated policy issues he plans to champion, including the condition of Lake Erie, the heroin epidemic, youth employment, African-American voting rights, and the cost of education. He said he was motivated by the failure of urban lawmakers in the House of Representatives to oppose a fight against a bill that bans future joint economic development zones.
“This has to do with what I think I can contribute to the state,” Mr. Ford said.
“People are looking for an independent voice,” he said. “We need some folks to be very diligent down there.”
He said it boggles his mind that urban Democrats voted for a bill to abolish future joint economic development zones, of which Toledo has several. The zones allow townships and adjacent cities to impose income tax on regional economic development. Lawmakers said no one voiced opposition to the bill until after it passed the House. It is awaiting Senate action.
“We’re going to lose thousands of dollars in Toledo every year if this thing goes through,” Mr. Ford said.
Among those who accompanied Mr. Ford to file his election paperwork Monday were former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and independent Toledo Councilman Theresa Gabriel.
The Senate district is composed of the 44th, 45th, and 46th House districts, which consists of the cities of Toledo, Maumee, and Oregon, and the townships of Springfield, Washington, and Jerusalem.
Mr. Ford has health concerns, including regular kidney dialysis. But he said serving in Columbus won’t be any more demanding than getting around Toledo. He said that in addition to his council representation, he teaches two classes in Africana studies at the University of Toledo.
Mr. Ford, a social worker by career, has been elected as a councilman, state representative, mayor, and Toledo school board member — and again to city council in November. A longtime Democrat, he ran as an independent for council rather than seek the party’s endorsement because it refused to get behind his 2005 re-election effort.
Ms. Brown, 74, is seeking a second term. She served eight years on city council and four and a half terms in the state House of Representatives. Ms. Brown has previously defeated opponents, including fellow Democrat Joe McNamara, who ran against her in the 2010 Senate primary.
“I'm disappointed he’s doing that to me, but it’s a free country,” Ms. Brown said, adding that she’s confident she will win.
Ms. Brown said if Mr. Ford is outraged at the House for its vote on the joint economic development zone bill then he should have filed to run for a House seat.
Mr. McCarthy, 72, who was defeated in his bid for council last November in the same election that Mr. Ford won, questioned why Mr. Ford was running for another office so soon after his election.
“I’d like to see him stay on city council. I think he could do wonders on council for the community. And yet if he wants to make that step up, that’s fine,” Mr. McCarthy said.
State Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern said the party will support Ms. Brown and cited her “long and distinguished career.”
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