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Democrats gathered at International Park in East Toledo last night to begin their traditional Labor Day weekend celebrations, saying they hope to be celebrating on Election Day two months from now.
Tim Hagan, the party's candidate for governor, said he hopes to dethrone Republican incumbent Bob Taft, and will depend on the support of organized labor to pave the way to victory.
“The fall campaign kicks off on Labor Day, and my outlook is great,” said Mr. Hagan. “I think that I can make the case that my family and especially my public record indicate a deep and abiding commitment to collective bargaining and the concerns of working men and women across this state.
“The union movement has been the conscience of this state and this country, beyond their own self-interest,” declared Mr. Hagan, saying he would move forward with a plan to provide affordable prescription drugs for needy Ohio residents.
He appeared in Toledo a week after announcing he would not be airing television advertisements promoting his campaign. He has raised only a nickel for every dollar Mr. Taft has collected for the campaign.
As a substitute for television, Mr. Hagan unveiled a video presentation Thursday that he is making available on his campaign Web site.
Mr. Taft will return to Toledo tomorrow to march in the Labor Day parade.
Peter Ujvagi, the president of Toledo council who is running this fall for the District 47 seat in the Ohio House, said he is hopeful Mr. Hagan can raise more money so the top of the Ohio Democratic ticket can get some ads on television before Election Day.
“Hopefully, there's still enough time for him to raise some money because, no question, you have to get the message out,” Mr. Ujvagi said. “But Democrats are strong, and we are all working to get the message out.”
Mr. Ujvagi, who is running against Republican Allen Roy in District 47, said that on the campaign trail he will promote his experience as a longtime councilman and political activist.
Mr. Roy is a first-time candidate.
Bryan Flannery, the Democratic candidate for secretary of state, arrived at last night's celebration with his wife, Renee, toting their 20-month-old daughter, Taylor, in a wagon to meet local supporters and to watch a fireworks display over the Maumee River.
Mr. Flannery, a state representative from the Cleveland area, is challenging Republican incumbent Kenneth Blackwell.
Sandy Isenberg, president of the Lucas County Commissioners, said she is ready for a re-election campaign unlike any other she has ever run. “I would just like to talk about the issues that are important to Lucas County,” she said, adding that she wants to focus on “jobs and job training” during her fifth term, if elected.
Ms. Isenberg faces a challenge from Republican Maggie Thurber, the clerk of Toledo Municipal Court. Both Ms. Isenberg and Ms. Thurber are expected to walk in the holiday parade tomorrow. .