The Decline and Fall: Time of Reckoning in City Politics

. March 14, 2018.

The reign is over.

It wasn’t so long ago that the endorsement of the Democratic Party was a cherished prize in Lucas County. It routinely ensured victory in this Democratic stronghold. From new candidates to appointees, old hands and has-beens, an endorsement meant electoral bliss.

Times have changed. Just this past year, Kurt Young won the endorsement and was subsequently appointed to Toledo City Council, only to finish woefully out of the running in the Primary and General elections. His star has not just waned, it has flamed out.

Then there’s Sam Melden, endorsed as a young up-and-comer. He finished instead as a down-and-outer. Rumor has it he’ll make a come back shortly. We’re not banking on it.

Y’all recall the biggest bust of the endorsed candidates from twenty seventeen. PHH, incumbent mayor, endorsed early on by the Dems. Couldn’t win for losing, so she lost. That’s a big oh-for for the Dems and Chair  Joshua Hughes.

At least the folks who beat the endorsed Ds were themselves endorsed Ds, or hard-to-beat incumbents. With the addition of Gary Johnson and Nick Komives, City Council is still three-fourths D, and the mayor, Wade K., is a lifelong D as well. No harm, no foul, perhaps?

Have the jackasses learned from these miscues?

Byers remorse

Nope. They’re about to suffer a more severe setback, losing a seat on the Lucas County Commissioners. Current City Council member Sandy Spang will beat endorsed D Gary Byers this November.

Here’s why we’re so confident of that prediction.

1. Spang has a proven base of support.  She has already shown to be popular in the largest voting block in the county, T-Town proper.  She has slyly cast herself as an Independent, even though she’s a dyed-in-the-wool R when it comes to her voting record.  This subterfuge has proven effective, as she has easily won election as an At-Large member of Council, twice.  She’s been on the ballot with a crafted reputation of smart and conscientious.  Whether that rep is authentic, or smoke and mirrors, is irrelevant.

2. Spang has a natural base in other parts of the County.  Given the fact that she’s actually an R in thought, word, and deed, she should easily expand her base to the redder environs of places like Waterville, Whitehouse, and the townships.  If she can hold serve in Toledo, she’s a shoo-in.

3. Byers, the endorsed D, has lost whatever minimal base he once had.  Byers was the municipal judge in Maumee for election cycle after election cycle. Maumee is a small part of the electorate, and folks in Toledo have no idea who he is. And now folks in Maumee have turned on him, voting him out of office just last year. His natural base is lost, and he’s little known everywhere else.

4. The obvious choice for endorsement was cast aside. Carol Contrada decided at the last minute to forego re-election.  Although a suburbanite, like Byers, she also had stellar name recognition from her family legal practice.  Unlike Byers.

Her long-time aide, young and fresh-faced Steven Spitler, was positioned to take her place and sought the party endorsement.  Spitler would have been a first-time candidate who nevertheless could show a wealth of experience for the job.  He’s been active in past campaigns, with an understanding of what it takes to win.  A perfect choice!

Entitlement program

Except it seem the Dems ‘only concern is finding work for desperate members of the elected ranks. Endorsement is an entitlement program for Ds down on their luck. PHH loses? Run for the state house!  Lindsay Webb term-limited, with questionable marketable skills? Here’s the treasurer’s seat! Gary Byers booted out of office over wranglings concerning the handling his court’s budget? Well, see above for how that’s about to work out.

On second thought, we don’t know for certain that Spitler had a better chance at Spang than Byers. If both had been allowed to run in the Primary, rank-and-file D voters could have made the choice. The Primary election results would tell the tale of the tape, just like they’re ‘sposed to.

Alas, the party endorsement cut that off at the pass. Spitler is out, and Byers is unopposed in the Primary, and will be on the November ballot.

Welcome to the Eighth Floor, Commissioner Spang.

  • moderatedem

    Interesting analysis but a couple of issues…

    1. Byers represented more than Maumee on Muni Court – it included Waterville, Monclova Township and parts of other areas like Springfield. He got 46 percent of the vote in low turnout election. That’s a winning formula for a democrat countywide.

    2. Never underestimate the anti-Toledo sentiment outside of Toledo and will subrubs want 3 Toledo politicians on County Commission?

    3. Sandy, like Ludeman, Sarantau, Judy Jones, Max Reddish, etc has proven that she can get enough votes in at large pool to win. But a head to head race – look at Mayor and she is unproven.

    4. There will be a republican on ballot, thus cutting into Sandy’s base of support.

    5. 2018 is certainly not going to be a pro republican year.

    6. Byers will have party, unions and lawyers behind him. He will have substantially more money and more volunteers.