Toledo Councilman Jack Ford’s campaign as an independent for the state Senate is facing a legal challenge today.
Lucas County Democratic Chairman Steven Steel filed a protest today at the Lucas County Board of Elections alleging that Mr. Ford is not an independent under Ohio election law because he voted as a Democrat in the May 6 primary and has a long history of voting and running as a Democrat.
Mr. Steel requested a hearing by the elections board, a step toward having Mr. Ford kicked off the Nov. 4 ballot.
Mr. Ford is running as an independent for the Senate District 11 seat against the Democratic nominee, incumbent Sen. Edna Brown of Toledo, and Republican nominee Ernest McCarthy of Toledo. The contest is seen as a threat to the long Democratic Party control of the Senate seat because Mr. Ford could win or he could split the majority Democratic vote with Ms. Brown, allowing a Republican to win.
“Mr. Ford is not an ‘Independent’ candidate but rather has a long-standing affiliation with the Democratic Party, as evidenced in part by the fact that he voted on a Democratic ballot as recently as the May 6, 2014 election,” Mr. Steel said. He said state law requires independents to have no party affiliation, and said court cases have upheld his position.
Mr. Ford said he has considered himself independent since 2005 when the Democratic Party refused to endorse him for re-election as mayor. He ran without seeking the party’s endorsement for Toledo Board of Election in 2007 and for Toledo City Council in 2013.