Mayor Bell announces re-election bid - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Mayor Bell announces re-election bid

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Toledo Mayor Mike Bell (I) made the announcement people had been expecting:  He will run for re-election.  Bell told an audience of his intentions at end of his State of the City address. 

Now that he's running, we get an idea of who may challenge him.

The mayor's announcement itself was no real surprise.  Many of the 250 Toledo Rotary Club members he spoke before in delivering his State of the City address will support him.

But the mayor says he's running again because Toledo is headed in the right direction.  Bell told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann, "It's about bringing everyone together and moving us all in the same direction."

Bell is a political independent.  But as an independent, you expect fire from all sides during a campaign.

Bell used to be a Democrat and Democrats haven't forgotten his switch.  The Lucas County Democratic party chairman, Ron Rothenbuhler told 13abc, "Many of the working class people believe he (Bell) has forgotten where he came from."

Democrats will likely run two candidates:  Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez and city council president Joe McNamara.

McNamara thought the mayor's announcement during a State of the City address was inappropriate but he did give us a sense of his likely campaign talking points when he runs for mayor himself.  "People are worried about jobs, they're worried about crime and they're worried about the safety of their neighborhoods," McNamara said after the speech.

Republicans will field a candidate even though mayor Bell enjoys the support of many Republican business leaders and politicians.  That's a fact not lost on Lucas County party chairman, Jon Stainbrook who admitted,  "Our battle is to have a candidate in this race and someone who is viable."

But perhaps the mayor's toughest opposition will come from labor.  Unions in Toledo are upset with the mayor's use of exigent circumstances to take savings from union contracts and his support to limit collective bargaining.   The Vice President of Firefighter's Local 92 says, "Taking away your rights doesn't sit well with our members."   

For the mayor, his campaign begins today; but his opposition is organizing.

The mayor's campaign team admits it will take at least $400,000 to run an effective re-election race.  The Republican candidate may have trouble raising that kind of cash  but the Democrats will have a lot of financial help from the unions.

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