Finkbeiner $500-a-ticket fund-raiser event hints at re-election bid

In a sign that Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner is considering a run for re-election, he hosted a $500-per-ticket campaign fund-raiser last night just before hosting the public "Celebration of the City" in the same building.

It was the first fund-raising event of his current term as mayor, but he said last night he won't decide whether to run again until next year.

Also yesterday, fellow Democrat and Toledo attorney Keith Wilkowski said he is strongly leaning toward running for mayor again in 2009.

About 200 people chatted, some sipping wine or other beverages, as a jazz combo provided the music on the south side of the massive lobby of One SeaGate - just before the Celebration of the City extravanganza on the north side of the same lobby.

Event coordinator Ellen Critchley said close to 50 tickets were sold and that the event raised about $29,000.

Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher was among the elected officials, city workers, contractors, Democratic Party activists, union chiefs, and longtime Finkbeiner supporters who attended.

Mr. Fisher praised Mr. Finkbeiner as perhaps the most gung-ho mayor or local elected official in the state.

"There is only one mayor, only one elected official, who when our phone rings at 1 a.m., we don't even have to look at the screen of our BlackBerry to know who it is," Mr. Fisher said, saying he also was speaking for Gov. Ted Strickland.

"And when he's calling, he's not calling about Carty Finkbeiner, he's calling about Toledo, Ohio," Mr. Fisher said.

Tom Palmer, a longtime friend of the mayor and a member of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority board of directors, said he's one of about 32 co-chairmen of the mayor's political committee, but said he didn't know if Mr. Finkbeiner planned to use the money for a re-election bid.

"I would say this is an event to raise funds to be able to do things to support the city above what the budget would allow him to spend," Mr. Palmer said.

Mr. Finkbeiner has said he needs a source of funds to do things such as fund the campaign to renew the 0.75-percent payroll tax on the March 4 primary election.

Contractors whose companies bought a ticket included Arcadis, the engineering firm formerly known as Finkbeiner Pettis & Strout, which often wins city contracts.

Nick Haddad, a barber whose shop is in the city-owned Madison Building in downtown Toledo, attended. "I support him. He's excellent. He's the best," Mr. Haddad said.

All three Lucas County commissioners were on hand. Commissioner Pete Gerken, who has been mentioned as a possible mayoral candidate next year, said he's focusing only on his own re-election bid this year.

"I'm here on a complimentary pass. I appreciate the mayor's generosity," he said.

Also on a complimentary pass was Gary Johnson, a member of the Lucas County Board of Elections and the owner of American Flooring Installers, a minority firm that contracts with the city. He said he couldn't contribute $500 to one politician and not to others.

"Twenty-five dollars is all I give to any fund-raising so as not to raise questions about my ability to adjudicate [as a member of the elections board]," Mr. Johnson said.

He said he expects Mr. Finkbeiner to run. "I can't imagine he would not run," he said.

Ron Rothenbuhler, Lucas County Democratic chairman and regional head of the Ohio Vicinity Regional Council of Carpenters, also said Mr. Finkbeiner's move appears to be related to a re-election effort.

"There was a heck of a lot of people there," he said.

Mr. Wilkowski, in response to a question from The Blade, said he is still talking to Toledoans and to his family, but that, "I strongly lean toward becoming a candidate in 2009."

He ran in 2005, coming in third in the primary. He said he ran because he believed Toledo needed to make fundamental changes to turn the city around, and still believes so.

Also considering a run for mayor next year is Councilman Frank Szollosi. Mr. Finkbeiner, Mr. Szollosi, and Mr. Wilkowski are all Democrats.

Contact Tom Troy at: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.

No votes yet

*throws up*

Until the lion writes his own story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter (African proverb)

what choices. Crazy Carty and Sold out Solousy.

Best of Luck Keith - you'll need it.

I'll bet the next mayor has a last name that has been involved in Toledo politics for over a decade.

This city will continue to devolve until there is an actual change in the highest echelons of city and county government. But that trend looks unlikely to change.

MikeyA

MikeyA

LOL

Is there ANYONE HERE who honestly didn't think this egomaniac bastard WOULDN'T run again?? If there is, you're NUTS as he is.

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I'll bet
Submitted by MikeyA on Wed, 2008-01-23 11:37.
I'll bet the next mayor has a last name that has been involved in Toledo politics for over a decade.

This city will continue to devolve until there is an actual change in the highest echelons of city and county government. But that trend looks unlikely to change.

MikeyA
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The above is 100% true, spoken with wisdom by Mikey. Everyone bitches about 'change' and then every election votes for the same names.

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BRING THE TROOPS HOME-NOW!

_________________
"They keep talking about drafting a constitution for Iraq.Why don't we give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, and we're not using it any more".

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'I used to have compassion, but they taxed it and legislated it out of existence.'

Our local politics becomes any more inbred, and they'll have to raise their right flipper to be sworn in!!

Those people that will pay $500 a plate to listen to him? I'd never pay $5 to listen to him. In fact, I'm more likely to pay a kid $5 to shut off the tv when he's on.

because it would much bigger of a shock if he didn't run for re-election.

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