Toledo--Eight days before Toledo�s primary election, two gay city council candidates used the city�s Labor Day parade to propel their campaigns into the home stretch.
Dave Schulz and Thomas Meinecke will partly face each other in the September 13 primary, which will eliminate four of the 16 at-large candidates, leaving the 12 top vote-getters to compete for six� seats on November 8.
Meinecke, a Democrat endorsed by the United Auto Workers, rode in a convertible driven by his partner John, surrounded by campaign volunteers and members of his Local 12 at Daimler Chrysler, carrying his signs and wearing stickers with his name on them.
At a pre-parade rally, Meinecke was introduced by Local 12 secretary Lloyd Mehaffie with Mayor Jack Ford as �our candidates.�
Meinecke, who is also a former military service member and president of the Toledo Area Pride Center, holds doctorates of ministry and theology from Andersonville Baptist Seminary. His campaign has focused on economic and community development issues.
After the parade, Meinecke visited Labor Day rallies and picnics held by Teamsters and other locals, meeting voters.
Meinecke, who has raised more than $10,000 for the race, said he will send mail to voters and continue to campaign door to door until election day. Fellow union members will distribute his campaign literature and phone-bank all voters on his behalf.
Meinecke will be a guest on the local LGBT radio program Gay Talk on September 11.
Dave Schulz passed out lollipops to children along the Labor Day parade route and talked to voters. Without a union endorsement, he was not in the parade itself.
Schulz was joined along the route by fellow Log Cabin Republican Dave Kaplan, who is seeking a city council seat in the Seattle suburb of Des Moines, Washington.
Schulz is endorsed by Gays and Lesbians United, the Toledo area LGBT equal rights group. He founded the Log Cabin Republicans of Northwest Ohio and was elected to the Lucas County Republican Central Committee.
His campaign has focused on his proposed sweeping changes to the city�s charter, which he says will bring about better government while eliminating the at-large council position he is trying to win.
But he has also made the ethics of other candidates part of his campaign, which has gotten him more coverage in the Toledo Blade than any other council candidate, including incumbents.
Schulz points out that incumbent Karyn McConnell Hancock, an attorney, has represented criminal defendants in Toledo Municipal Court. Council members are prohibited from doing this, according to a 1996 advisory opinion from the city�s law director which calls it a conflict of interest.
He also says McConnell Hancock got special treatment for a parking ticket.
Schulz, who has raised nearly $10,000, said he will send 15,000 letters to voters in the last days before the primary, targeting Republicans and those with no party identification.
He is also targeting the Point Place neighborhood where he lives and is well-known. The neighborhood contains about 12 percent of the city�s population and, Schulz believes, his margin of victory.
After the parade, Schulz and Kaplan greeted voters going to the Toledo Mudhens baseball game.
Both candidates are endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund of Washington, D.C., which contributes to gay and lesbian candidates that they believe are viable.
The Blade added a question to an August poll it took on the mayoral race, asking the 500 people surveyed who their top pick for council-at-large is.
Schulz came in eighth of the 16 with 3.7 percent. Meinecke polled 13th with 1.6 percent. The poll is believed to gauge name recognition, but not necessarily the outcome of the race.
Meinecke and Schulz are joined by four other gay and lesbian candidates for city councils around Ohio.
Mary Jo Hudson is defending her seat in Columbus. Nickie Antonio is seeking a seat in Lakewood. Mark Tumeo is running in Cleveland Heights. All three are at-large, and will be on ballots November 8.
Joe Santiago, seeking the Cleveland City Council Ward 14 seat, has a primary election on October 4.
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