Toledo--In a primary election with the city�s lowest voter turnout ever, one gay council-at-large candidate will move on to the general election and one will not.
Republican David Schulz finished tenth of the 16 candidates with 9,943 votes. Democrat Thomas Meinecke finished 15th with 3,428 votes.
The top 12 will compete for six at-large council seats in the November 12 non-partisan election.
Current District 3 council member Bob McCloskey led the field with 20,083 votes, followed by incumbents Phil Copeland with 18,454, Betty Schultz with 17,580, Frank Szollosi with 16,279, and George Sarantou with 15,357. Next are challengers Mark Sobczak with 13,225, and Karen Shanahan, followed by incumbent Karyn McConnell Hancock with 12,597.
The field is rounded out by challengers Bob Vasquez with 12,283, Schulz, Terry Shankland with 6,531, and Ernie Berry with 5,373.
Shultz, Sarantou, and Schulz are Republicans. Berry is an independent. The rest are Democrats.
Out of the race are Meinecke, Mitch Batonek with 4,928 votes, Jason Schreiner with 4,338, and Robert Tilton with 2,678.
�I don�t know why the turnout was so low,� said Schulz.
It was 14 percent of registered voters.
�Maybe it was the 92-degree heat, or maybe it was the scandals,� said Schulz, referring to two of his opponents. Betty Schultz has been connected to Republican fundraiser and coin dealer Tom Noe. Hancock was embroiled in two scandals, both brought to the surface by Schulz, involving a parking ticket and representing criminal defendants in Toledo Municipal Court, a possible conflict of interest.
Pleased that he is still in the race, Schulz knows he has a long way to go before he takes a seat in November.
�There�s no Republican mayoral candidate,� said Schulz, �so we need to find a way to get Republicans to the polls.�
Schulz also said that the Point Place neighborhood, where he lives and campaigned heavily, does not have enough voters to win the general election.
�We�re going to have to come up with a new strategy,� said Schulz.
�Luckily, there are some interesting media opportunities in the next couple of weeks,� said Schulz. �I�m going to make lots of noise for the next seven weeks.�
Schulz is a founder of the Log Cabin Republicans of Northwest Ohio and a member of the state Republican central committee. Both he and Meinecke had the endorsement of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund in Washington, D.C., which directs contributions to qualified LGBT candidates.
Meinecke, who was endorsed by the United Auto Workers, said he will likely run for his council district seat in 2007.
�We did our best,� said Meinecke, �but apparently we couldn�t get our voters out.�
Five other gay and lesbian candidates are seeking office in Ohio. Two have primaries on October 4: Joe Santiago, running for the Ward 14 council seat in Cleveland, and Nickie Antonio, running at-large in Lakewood.
Mark Tumeo, seeking a city council seat in Cleveland Heights, and Joe Lacey, running for the Dayton school board, have no primaries. Mary Jo Hudson, running to keep her Columbus city council seat, won a primary in May.
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