Toledo's mayoral race could gain another official contestant next week with plans by Anita Lopez, the Lucas County Auditor, to make an announcement.
"We will be making an announcement and we just want to let folks know that it'll be happening sometime next week," Lopez told The Blade this morning.
Lopez, a Democrat, strongly forecast that a mayoral campaign is in the offing while at a town hall meeting on immigration reform Wednesday night at the University of Toledo.
Program moderator Oscar Sanchez, a Latino community advocate, introduced her as "possibly our next mayor."
That made the predominately Latino audience roar its approval.
"I'm proud to have served the community as auditor, and I'll be just as proud to serve the community in whatever future roll I may play in the community," Ms. Lopez said.
As she finished her sentence, Ms. Lopez noticed the media present at the event and hurriedly blurted to the audience: "I wasn't officially announcing that I will run for mayor. That's not what I was doing."City Councilman Joe McNamara, who has already declared his candidacy for mayor, also attended the event, but was not one of the featured speakers.
McNamara appeared to enjoy Lopez's discomfiture. After Ms. Lopez's on-stage comments, Mr. McNamara could be seen shaking audience members hands and introducing himself.
"Hi, I'm Joe McNamara, and I am running for mayor," he said.
If she announces for mayor, Lopez would join a mayor's race that's it's already producing political firefights.
McNamara, also a Democrat, this week has kept up attacks on incumbent Mayor Mike Bell's economic development trade trip to Germany as a "vacation."
Bell is running as a political independent. Also running are independent Alan Cox, Republican Opal Covey, and Libertarian Michael Konwinski.