Joe McNamara, the winner of a six-way contest for an open Toledo City Council seat, sat through a council agenda review meeting yesterday as part of the learning process for his new job.
Mr. McNamara wouldn't say whether he would support retaining the present council leadership once he takes his seat in early December after the vote from Tuesday's special election is certified by the Lucas County Board of Elections.
"I have to learn the lay of the land and talk to each member," Mr. McNamara, 29, said.
An unendorsed Democrat, he won the at-large seat with 35 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results released early yesterday. Among the challengers he defeated was Lourdes Santiago, the endorsed Democrat and appointed incumbent.
Mr. McNamara received 25,993 votes to Ms. Santiago's 22,497 (30 percent). Unendorsed Democrat Bob Vasquez received 11,475 votes (16 percent); endorsed Republican Dave Schulz received 9,376 votes (13 percent); Independent Dave Davison and unendorsed Democrat James Mohn tied for last with 2,242 votes each (3 percent each).
Mr. McNamara will fill the three years remaining in the unexpired term of Democrat Bob McCloskey, who resigned in May before his conviction and sentencing on state and federal bribery charges.
"It's been a dream of mine to serve Toledo for a long time," Mr. McNamara said. He said he looks forward to trying to put his campaign proposals into action, but acknowledged that he will need the support of other council members.
The current council president is Republican Rob Ludeman, who was elected by a coalition of four Republicans and two Democrats, including McCloskey. Ms. Santiago maintained that coalition when she was appointed in May to replace McCloskey.
There is speculation over whether Mr. McNamara will vote to retain Mr. Ludeman, who supports Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, as council president next year.
Democratic Councilman Frank Szollosi said he wants a Democrat as council president because his party holds 8 of the 12 council seats.
"The community expressed its preference for change and for Democratic leadership, and the people's body here should reflect that," Mr. Szollosi said.
Mr. Ludeman noted that Mr. McNamara was elected independently of both parties.
"I think I've done a good nonpartisan, bipartisan job and would be willing to serve until the end of my term if they so choose," Mr. Ludeman said. His District 2 councilman term ends Dec. 31, 2007.
Ms. Santiago said yesterday that she has accepted the results of the election and that she intends to continue serving the city of Toledo. She did not say whether she would seek her old job back as a senior attorney with the city tax division, from which she resigned when she was appointed to council.
Mr. Schulz said he was swamped by "a Democratic romp - a tsunami." He said he was happy that the charter amendment he initiated limiting council service to 12 consecutive years passed Tuesday.
Mr. Vasquez did not return a call seeking comment. Mr. Mohn said he was pleased with his showing.
"There's a lot of unrest in the city of Toledo and a lot of people showed that by voting for me, and I hope the City Council takes a look at that," Mr. Mohn said.
Mr. Davison said in an e-mail: "Mr. McNamara ran a good, clean race and won with honor."