Who is in the driver’s seat in City Politics?

. November 22, 2017.

The dust has settled and the votes are tallied. Except for the late absentee and provisional ballots, which could affect the outcome in a race or two. But we digress.

Here’s what we know so far. The Mayor-elect is not the Mayor, and vice versa. Incumbency has its advantages, unless you are an unknown appointee or facing assault charges. And Toledo is still a big fat doughnut.

One last thing we know. The dominoes are about to fall.

The power of incumbency

The first four finishers in the Toledo City Council race were rather predictable. It would be the best known, the incumbents, those with the name recognition of having been on the ballot before. Being bland, white, and from South Toledo is also a plus.
So it is no surprise that the top two finishers were the bland white South Toledoans Sandy Spang and Rob Who?deman. The order doesn’t matter all that much. They both are non-entities on Council. Which means they haven’t done anything to tick anybody off.

Of course the other two real incumbents, Cecilia Adams and Larry “Slugger” Sykes, finished three and four. Oh, wait, what? Slugger slid all the way to sixth? He almost got shut out altogether?
Some might blame his decline on his assault charges just a few short weeks before the election. To them we’d say, think again. Like, back to the last time he was on the ballot.

In Twenty Thirteen Slugger finished fourth in the primary. In the general he slid to seventh on Election Day. Only the provisional ballots boosted him into sixth. And even then, he slid so far that he only won by a scant few votes. After taking his Council seat he accused TPD of racially profiling him. That didn’t win many friends, but it probably influenced some people.

Relax, Slugger. At least there won’t be a recount this time.
Then there’s the darling Dem appointee, Kurt Young. Unknown by everyone except Dem insiders, he ran a silly and sloppy campaign. Now his silly, sloppy self is back out on the street. Begs the question what yahoo wanted this guy appointed? More on that shortly.

Doughnut hole

In other news, the Toledo electoral map was a big round zero. The outer ring–East Toledo, Point Place, South and West Toledo, out by the mall, all voted Wade. The central city voted PHH. And in much smaller numbers.

That helps explain Slugger’s slide. And Wade’s decisive victory.
It also set the dominoes a-toppling.

See, if PHH had won, everything would have been stable. We’d know not just who the Mayor was, but also who the County Treasurer was. Now, not so much.

The race is on to fill Wade’s cushy, semi-retirement seat as the Treaurer. Who ever gets appointed by the Lucas County Dem Central Committee will have to face election in the fall of next year. It will therefore probably be a current elected official with a campaign machine and track record of raising money. Whose own seat as an elected official would become open.

Rumors have State Rep Michael Ashford as a front-runner. If he is appointed, his seat opens up in January, to be filled by the Dem caucus in the statehouse. Which means, Ashford would have a pretty big say in his own replacement.

Hmmm. PHH lives in Ashford’s district. She was appointed to replace him on Council when he won his first State Rep race and he vacated his Council seat. Could history repeat itself?
Then there’s LC Dem Chair Josh Hughes. We said before this election was in part a referendum on his Party leadership. It’s doubly important that the Dems are unified if Mark Wagoner topples the Stainbrook machine to lead the Repubs and makes them a political power in the County.

So how did Hughes do? He insulted Wade as an “opportunist” and “not a Democrat.” Under his leadership the Party’s endorsed candidate, PHH, lost to Wade, the very candidate Hughes insulted. And they endorsed and appointed a sad sack Council replacement who finished a dismal ninth in the Council race. Yup, Hughes is the yahoo referenced above.

Three pitches. Three strikes. Hit the bench, Josh.