Lucas County Democratic Party Chairman Ron Rothenbuhler announced today that he will not seek re-election when the party‘s central committee convenes June 9.
Toledo City Councilman Steven Steel said Thursday that he will run for the post.
Mr. Rothenbuhler, 66, of Oregon, a former carpenters union leader, became chairman in 2007 as a compromise candidate to end the so-called A-team, B-team split in the Democratic Party.
But many Democrats have grumbled that Mr. Rothenbuhler has been too nonconfrontational, resulting in fewer candidates seeking the party’s endorsement for Toledo municipal office.
Mr. Steel, 51, of Toledo‘s Old West End neighborhood, believes he has the support of a majority of the county central committee that was elected in the May 6 primary. He has been quietly building support for a challenge to Mr. Rothenbuhler for months.
“A lot of people have been a little disappointed at the performance of Democrats in the last election cycle when it comes to not having a candidate for mayor and people choosing not to seek the Democratic Party’s endorsement,” Mr. Steel said. He is a part-time professor at Bowling Green State University.
He said the changes that need to be made include making sure candidates have the support of volunteers, and financial and logistical support from the party.