On one hand, we can hardly wait until the September 10 Primary Election. After months of jockeying for position, slinging mud and shedding crocodile tears, the Big Three in the race to be the next Mayor of Toledo will finally be pared down to two for the November ballot. Will Councilman Joe McNamara’s strategy of ignoring incumbent Mayor Mike Bell and instead attacking his fellow Democratic challenger Auditor Anita Lopez be effective? Will Bell’s total lack of campaigning—while letting Joe Mac do his dirty work—let him skate through? Will the internecine squabbling instigated by Joe Mac allow the unthinkable to happen, letting Councilman D. Michael Collins sneak into the final lap? Or will it all backfire, casting Lopez in a sympathetic light as a hard-working, single mom who raised herself up by the bootstraps and cares for aging parents, thereby boosting her to victory?
Whoa baby, these last few weeks will be exciting!
Too big for the tent.
On the other hand, we will truly miss the broader field of crazies, dunderheads and whackadoos about to be put out to electoral pasture. Consider the following highlights of recent campaign exchanges, all of which will be over after the relevant candidates are sent packing.
Our favorite bit of high comedic theater came when Collins told a room filled with African Americans at the NAACP forum that there is no racial profiling in Toledo. After allowing the derisive hootin’ and hollerin’ to die down a bit, he spent much of the rest of the evening trying to backpedal and save face. Ya shoulda been there!
And once and for all, D. Mike, what the heck is that dangling initial doing at the front of your name?
Collins’ malapropism was nearly equaled by Libertarian Michael Konwinski’s backing of an Ohio version of Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” gun legislation at the same forum. You mighta heard of that law in connection with the slaying of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, a case and trial that got a wee bit of attention a few weeks back. Saying such legislation is a good idea didn’t seem quite right in an NAACP forum. But we gotta hand it to ya, Mikey boy, it took guts.
Then we turn to the truly bizarre. Write-in candidate Don Gozdowski regularly shows up at candidate events wearing a lapel pin that looks suspiciously like the Starfleet logo from Star Trek. Is he angling for the Trekkie vote, assuming they emerge from their parents’ basements on E-Day? Has he actually taken an intergalactic trip? Or is he the candidate who will allow Toledo to “live long and prosper”?
We will surely miss the surrealistic dada spoken word performances that constitute Opal Covey’s stump speeches. We frankly think that the Covey campaign is some sort of genius performance art, combining a satire of American life since the post-war 1950s with free-form stream-of-consciousness ramblings a la Jack Kerouac and the Beats.
Does the “roller coaster in Promenade Park” she constantly touts actually symbolize the ups and downs of Toledo’s fortunes over the last 60 years, especially poignant along the riverfront? Does her insistence that God told her to run for Mayor symbolize some deep spiritual malaise that beset the City with the loss of major Fortune-500 companies through the de-industrialization of the American Midwest? Or is she just a crank case with nothing better to do than spew disjointed sentences at unsuspecting audiences every four years? After September 10, we’ll never know.
Filling the void
How to make up for the loss of the minor Mayoral candidates after the Primary?
We’re pretty certain there will still be a few weirdos left in the City Council race to fill the void. Will it be Joseph Celusta and his signature straw hat, reminiscent of those golden years of the Nineties? Eighteen Nineties, that is. Or perhaps Bill Delaney will defy the voters he so openly deplores and actually win their votes. But probably not.
Theresa Gabriel probably has enough backing from her good friend, former Mayor Carty Finklestinker, to make it to November. Her platform is based on wanting to help seniors, although exactly how municipal government could do that goes unexplained. Mebbe she thinks she’s running for the Board of Directors for the Area Office on Aging.
Candidates for School Board don’t face a primary at all, so we are assured of more nuttiness from that untapped quarter as November approaches.
Gosh gee willikers, we can hardly wait!