What is up with the Lucas County Republican Party? Or should we ask, is there still a Lucas County Republican Party?
Over the years, the local GOP has truly plumbed the depths looking for candidates for local office. They have backed the candidacies of assorted and sundry losers, whack jobs, and even convicted killers. But at least they could say they had a slate of candidates, even if most of them were the dregs of local politics.
To be fair, the GOP has had a few notable public servants over the past decade or so. Former Toledo city councilmen, Rob Ludeman and Tom Waniewski, served well, each proving to be eminently electable to multiple terms. The former a cipher in office, the latter a much more active legislator, but whatever.
George Sarantou also served multiple terms as a Republican on council, and is now back in office. Only this time he’s an official Independent. Leaving exactly zero, zilch, nada Republicans on the current council. And, in case you are keeping score, the GOP holds exactly zero county offices.
But here we are, twenny twenny three. All six Toledo city council district seats are up for election. One incumbent, President Matt Cherry, is term limited and can’t run for re-election. Two other incumbents, District One Rep John Hobbs and District Four’s Vanice Williams, have never been elected before. Both were appointed to replace members recently convicted of various federal crimes, and could be vicariously tainted by that scandal.
One might think the GOP would see an opportunity to make inroads here. Cherry’s District Two seat was previously once held by Republican Ludeman and is no lock for a Democrat. Williams is a political novice who could be vulnerable, albeit in a solidly Democratic district. Hobbs had his own mini-scandal when he was accused of double counting time spent on his state barber inspector job while also coaching high school basketball. Hobbs resigned his state post soon after.
One might think the LC GOP would be licking their chops, ready to seize the day and run strong, quality candidates in these races.
One might think that, but you’d be dead wrong. The filing deadline to run in the primary has come and passed. With nary a peep from a credible, formidable GOP candidate. Or any other kind.
Maybe they forgot the Toledo primary was moved up to May, making the filing deadline in March. Maybe they thought the old schedule, with a primary election in September and a deadline in July, was still in force.
Or maybe they have simply given up the ghost. When you’re left with a convicted killer as a candidate, there’s not much left.
The looming possibilities
Message to GOP. Not every local Republican is totally whackadoo. Granted, some are. Forget ‘em.
There’s a Toledo City Council at-large seat up for election this fall. Currently held by appointee Carrie Hartman. Find and support a credible candidate for that seat. Preferably someone with no prison record. Young, energetic. Electable, even.
Run an aggressive campaign. You may just get lucky and win. If not, you’ll have an experienced candidate who has gained name recognition and credibility.
Or you can just continue muddling along. Invisible and ineffective.
Allowing the Dems to fight amongst themselves, having no one else to fight.