By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, Ph.D.
The Truth Contributor
Winners know what to fight for and when to compromise. Losers compromise on what they shouldn’t and fight for what isn’t worthwhile.
– Sydney J. Harris
Yes, the 2022 midterm election is finally a wrap after months of campaigning, a relentless barrage of virulent political advertising, and a controversial redistricting map.
For the first time in forever, two of the state legislators from our area are Republicans. Surprisingly, Republican incumbent Governor Mike DeWine, also easily carried Lucas County in his race versus Democrat Nan Whaley.
Yet, smart strategies produced winners, while blunders caused losses that otherwise could have been easily won.
I have selected Lucas County’s biggest winners and losers from the 2022 state and local midterm election results.
Please see them below.
Kaptur is the nice, sweet mature lady who comes to your bake sales and asks about your family. But don’t get it twisted. When it comes down to a competitive campaign, Kaptur can be ruthless.
The national Republican Party cleaned up their exotic candidate, J.R. Majewski, presenting him on TV like a reasonable person. However, Marcy had already defined him as storming the Capitol on January 6 and lying about his military record. Nevertheless, the National Republican Committee was unembarrassed and put tons of money behind Majewski.
Marcy flexed on the Republicans by running one powerful commercial after another, depicting Majewski as an unhinged cuckoo and keeping it up until the night before the election. Her 66-34 margin in Lucas County puts the Republicans on notice that if they decide to run someone against her again, they will get more of the same. The U.S. Congressional 9th will continue to be a key swing district.
Northwest Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council
The Building and Construction Trades Council is brilliant and looks out for its 17,000 members. They are also the core of the Lucas County Democratic Party.
As a result, the Party has to live with the fact that the Building Trades will also back Republican candidates as part of their statewide strategy. In the midterms, the Building Trades supported the Party at the same time that they leashed their powerful machine to defeat Dems Nancy Larson and labor leader Erika White.
More than anything else, the Building Trades’ support for Republican Mike DeWine also led to the Governor’s shocking nine-point victory over Nan Whaley in a very blue Lucas County.
Redistricting created two 50-50 districts in Lucas County. The Republicans captured both, including Ohio House District 41, won by Republican Josh Williams. The money behind Williams? Support from the Building Trades, massive contributions from the Republican Caucus, and even a Betsy DeVos-affiliated school choice PAC catapulted Williams over the top.
Williams is also a member of River of Life Church, pastored by well-known local leader Bishop John Williams. Although a Republican, Josh Williams received support from the Black Church, and the Bishop’s intervention highly elevated his profile in the Black community.
Elgin Rogers’ 60-point margin in Democratic-leaning Ohio District 44 enables him to reach a level with a lot of influence in the community if he chooses to use it.
Despite concerns about inflation, voters overwhelmingly passed all the local levies. The Imagination Station passed at 60 percent. Both the Toledo-Lucas Public Library and Toledo Metro-Park renewals were above 70 percent. The lopsided passages indicate a bipartisan consensus around funding vital public services in Lucas County.
Lucas County Democratic Party
Turnout in the 2022 midterms was low again. Lucas County habitually owns the fifth-lowest turnout in Ohio and the weakest of Ohio’s large metro areas.
Here’s what concerns me. Voting turnout in Monclova reached 70 percent, and in Swanton and Sylvania reached 65 percent. Yet voting turnout in Toledo’s old ward four, our Democratic base, came in the ’30s and low 40s.
Vallie Bowman-English, a superb candidate with name recognition, lost to Republican incumbent Linda Knepp in the race for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas Juvenile. But, again, the low turnout in specific wards was a significant factor. Undoubtedly, the low turnout also affected Erika White’s race against Republican Derek Merrin. The fact is that LCDP does not have a robust turnout operation and is not getting financial support from the Ohio Dems or the national campaigns.
LCDP needs to prioritize getting an internal group to work on a grassroots turnout program and strategy because they are way behind what other similar counties are doing.
Finally, there needed to be more coordination in messaging the Party’s platform and policy. This failure cost candidates dearly. For example, Nancy Larson’s ill-informed statements doomed her campaign from the start. Larson publicly opposed project labor agreements championed by the Building Trades and went to the Toledo Federation of Teachers and told them that she supported charter schools. The LCDP has to find better candidates or prepare them to campaign using the same messaging from candidate to candidate.
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz
The mayor was the poster boy for his “all or nothing” Toledo Charter Amendment, which would have allowed him to sidestep his term limits and run for another term. The amendment included a long list of other changes, including modifying the rules for funding street projects.
Opposition from The Blade, The Movement, and citizens who didn’t understand the complicated amendment caused the Charter Amendment to fail 53 – 47.
Perhaps, Kapszukiewicz mistakenly thought the added (and popular) road provisions would persuade voters to approve the amendment even though it contained an additional term for him.
Even so, the mayor’s current popularity may be at its lowest since he was elected. Therefore, I’m not yet convinced he will win again unless his approval ratings goes back up.
Nevertheless, Toledo voters feel that either Kapszukiewicz is strongarming or playing a game of manipulation with them or are just comfortable with having mayoral term limits.
In addition, the mayor’s current beef with city council could also have played a role in the Charter Amendment’s failure. Several council members feel that the mayor’s refusal to meet with them is a petty play. They are also upset with Matt Cherry, council president and mayor’s ally. They complain that Cherry is not providing leadership and fails to show up for meetings. Cherry is chairman of the public safety committee, which, in the middle of the largest gun violence period in the city’s history, has only had one committee hearing, councilmembers protest.
Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, PhD, at email@example.com