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Tom Meinecke is back in Toledo city council race
Toledo--A gay candidate for city council says his chances are better this time.
Thomas Meinecke, 53, is again seeking a seat on Toledo city council, this time in District 4.
Meinecke, a Democrat, last ran for city council in 2005, running at-large in a race with 15 other candidates. Meinecke finished 15th. It was his first campaign.
This time, things are looking much better, he says.
“We will have $13,000 to $15,000 this time,” said Meinecke. “Last time, I only had about $5,000 and ran out of money. This time, I am more politically connected and more financially able.”
Meinecke has knocked on more doors and sent more mail to voters than before, prompting the Toledo Blade to call him “an aggressive campaigner.”
He is expected to finish first or second in the field of five candidates that includes incumbent Michael Ashford, Ronnell Traynum, Terry Shankland, and Lindsey Diggins. All are Democrats.
The top two vote-getters in the September 11 primary will face off in the November general election.
Meinecke says his issues are neighborhood improvement, which includes development, safety, and services, and ethics.
He filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission against Ashford, when Ashford posted campaign signs identifying himself as the “endorsed Democrat.”
Meinecke, who is on the Lucas County Democratic Executive Committee and the Central Committee, said the county party had not made any endorsement, and Ashford had no right to claim it.
The complaint generated considerable media attention for Meinecke, even though the commission rejected it, because Ashford’s sign didn’t say which Democratic organization endorsed him.
Nonetheless, according to Meinecke, Ashford is taking down the signs and replacing tem with new ones that do not make the claim.
Meinecke is the president of the West End Democratic Club and a member of the Stonewall Democrats.
Members of the two organizations are helping Meinecke reach voters.
In 2005, Meinecke was endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund of Washington, D.C., which gets money into gay campaigns it considers viable.
Meinecke said this year the Victory Fund is holding its endorsement until after the primary, as are the Democratic and organized labor groups.
Meinecke is a military veteran of 20 years, a retired DaimlerChrysler employee, and holds doctorates of theology and ministry from Andersonville Baptist Seminary.
He and his partner John Meinecke are known in Toledo as the “Valentine Couple,” because they go to the courthouse every year on Valentine’s Day to apply for a marriage license. John also accompanies Tom while campaigning.
Meinecke is a former president of Gays and Lesbians United and the Toledo Area Pride Center. He was active in the United Auto Workers and in Toledo’s veterans affairs.
He noted a big difference in how he is portrayed as a gay candidate this time.
Two years ago, when he and gay Republican Dave Schulz ran for council, “all the Blade wanted to talk about was my being gay. There was one reporter who thought that was all the news.”
“That reporter isn’t covering council races any more, and now they are ready to talk about my qualifications,” Meinecke said. “This time, the gay issue hasn’t even come up.”
Meinecke joins Bill Brownson of Columbus as gay candidates in Ohio, both seeking city council seats.
If elected, they will join city councilors Joe Santiago in Cleveland, Nickie Antonio in Lakewood, Winifred Weizer in University Heights, Mark Tumeo in Cleveland Heights and Eve Sandberg in Oberlin. Other officeholders include Haskins mayor Kenneth Fallows and Dayton school board member Joe Lacey.