Lessons from the front

. September 24, 2019.
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Primary Election debrief

The Primary Election is over, the General Election awaits. The Primary Election is the ultimate poll of likely voters. The results are comprised of the votes of folks extremely likely to vote, ‘cause they did. And they are voters who don’t answer pollsters questions, but instead actually made voting choices.

So what have we learned, dear readers?

1. Toledo District One incumbent Tyrone Riley is extremely vulnerable. The good news for Riley is that he finished first in the primary. So he’s on to the general. Every other bit of news is bad, though.

As we predicted, Riley didn’t top fifty percent of the votes cast. That means that more than half of the electorate chose someone other than the well-known incumbent. This was likely at least as much about being anti-Riley as being supportive of another candidate. These voters certainly know who he is, and yet chose not to vote for him. Which means these voters will likely vote for the other candidate in the general, no matter who that is. As we write this, Riley’s opponent in the general hasn’t yet been determined. But it may not matter.

Riley’s best hope is that there are pro-Riley voting blocs out there who didn’t vote in the primary but will come out in droves in the general. He best start working hard to get his voters to the polls. Otherwise, it’s back to the private sector rat race for our man Riley.

2. Likewise Maumee Mayor Richard Carr. Nowhere is the anti-incumbent sentiment more obvious than in Maumee. After years of scandals, allegations of self-dealing, investigations, and the ouster of the city administrator, Maumee voters are clearly fed up and looking for new blood.

Incumbent Council member Scott Noonan cleared the primary, but just barely. Noonan finished sixth, the last place that makes it to the general. Only the top three in November will win seats on Council. Noonan will almost certainly not be in that top three. And he was never implicated in any of the shenanigans. No matter. As an incumbent, he was painted with the same broad brush.

Frankly, Noonan did pretty well. The other incumbent running, David Kissinger, finished a distant last and won’t be on the ballot in November.

Carr will be on the ballot because he has only one opponent, so there was no need for a primary. His opponent, John Jezak, is the ousted city administrator we mentioned above. Carr was front and center in the Maumee political hijinks. If the anti-incumbent sentiment expressed in the primary comes through in November, Carr is in deep doo-doo.

3. Yvonne Harper is unbeatable. We predicted the Toledo District Four incumbent would garner a large percentage of the primary vote. She got over seventy-one percent. The general election is just a formality here.

4. The Mark Wagoner GOP is formidable. The Lucas County GOP is a different animal under Wagoner. He picked his fights and gave strategic support where it could do the most good. It’s tough for the GOP to break through in Dem-dominated parts of the County. But in the areas where the GOP has a fightin’ chance, Wagoner comes out swinging.

In Toledo District Two, the GOP candidate Abigail Sadowy finished a respectable second and will go on to the general election. In District Five, Tom Names also finished a surprising second and will go on to the November general. Both will likely lose, but the fact remains that they ran good races, and did much better than some of the lackluster GOP candidates of the recent past. Credit that to fundraising and strategic expenditures by the Wagoner GOP.

Wagoner didn’t waste resources in areas where the GOP has no chance in Hades, like Toledo Districts One and Four. He instead used resources wisely and effectively. It will be interesting to see who Wagoner finds to run county-wide next year. Can he make inroads into the Dem domination?

5. District Three is up for grabs. GOP candidate Glen Cook won the primary in District Three. There are at least three reasons he shouldn’t celebrate just yet.

The first and most obvious is that, like Riley, he didn’t clear fifty percent. He ran four years ago, and has good name recognition. And his anticipated opponent, Peter Ujvagi, dropped out of the race at the eleventh hour, leaving the Dems to scramble for a candidate. The endorsed D, Teresa Gadus, despite starting behind the eight ball, nevertheless finished a strong second.

Cook should also take note of the fact that over fifty-five percent of voters voted for a D in the primary. All Gadus has to do is capture that D vote in November.

The third reason Gadus should take heart is her last name. It’s a good Eastern European name, like Ujvagi. And has a long history in East Toledo. It will serve her well in that part of the district.

The wild card will be the Old South End voters in District Three. Cook and Gadus are both East Siders. The third place primary finisher was from South Toledo. Where will the South Toledo votes go?

Better get the walking shoes on and knock on some doors, District Three wannabes!