Citing a long list of competing commitments, Toledo City Councilman Rob Ludeman said that he has decided against running this year for the post of Lucas County auditor.
“After careful and prayerful consideration I have decided not to pursue the office of auditor at this time,” Mr. Ludeman, a Republican, said in a statement. “Although I feel the race this year for that office is one I would win and an office in which I would do a great job for the citizens, the time for further consideration is not now."
Mr. Ludeman, 60, a Republican from South Toledo, was seen as a strong candidate to take on Democratic Auditor Anita Lopez following her failed campaign for mayor last year, and to finally break into the all-Democratic array of 11 county row offices.
The deadline to file signature petitions for the county office is Feb. 5.
Mr. Ludeman served 14 years as the District 2 councilman for South Toledo, sat out for two years after being prohibited by term limits from running again in 2007, and then was elected at-large in 2009. He was re-elected in November, garnering the highest number of votes of the 12 candidates for six seats. Mr. Ludeman ran unsuccessfully for county commissioner in 2000 and for mayor in 2005.
Lucas County Republican Chairman Jon Stainbrook said he was disappointed by Mr. Ludeman’s withdrawal from the race but understood his decision.
“Rob could have won this race and could have been the next auditor. We’re going to find a candidate to run against Anita Lopez,” Mr. Stainbrook said.
Ms. Lopez, 44, said she intends to run for a third, four-year term. She declined to comment on the departure of Mr. Ludeman from the race, saying only, “I’m taking every day this year as it comes and truly just trying to earn the confidence and trust of the citizens so I can earn another term.”
Last week, Mr. Ludeman had said that Ms. Lopez’s low property appraisals in her 2012 six-year reappraisal damaged real estate values. Lucas County values fell an average of 12 percent from 2009. Ms. Lopez fired back that Mr. Ludeman, a real estate agent for Danberry Realtors, had appealed on behalf of clients on multiple occasions to have their values reduced.
The auditor, who is paid $94,248 a year, appraises real estate for tax purposes, acts as the government’s chief fiscal officer, issues licenses, and tests measuring devices such as gas pumps.
In a statement sent to The Blade on Wednesday, Mr. Ludeman said he feels an obligation to voters because of his recent re-election. He said his family supported him entering the race, but he still felt the election would take him away from his family excessively.
He said his real estate clients would suffer, especially during what he said is an improving market. He said he was not sure if he would have been allowed to sell real estate on the side.
Finally, he said he had promised his support on council to newly elected Councilman Sandy Spang, for whom he campaigned, as well as to South Toledo business owner Marcia Helman, whose campaign for the District 2 seat he is chairing. Both Ms. Spang and Ms. Helman are independents.
He said running for office while chairing Ms. Helman’s campaign might be construed as a conflict of interest. The seat is held by Democrat Matthew Cherry by appointment and will be decided by voters May 6.
On Tuesday night, Mr. Ludeman was reappointed chairman of council’s economic development committee. A challenge to his chairmanship by Democrat Mike Craig was defeated by a 10-1 vote.