Mayor Mike Bell showed up at the Lucas County Democratic Party fund-raiser tonight (Monday) - or crashed the party, in the view of one mayoral rival.
The event ($50 a ticket) was held at the Beirut Restaurant on Monroe Avenue near Douglas.
Formerly a Democrat, Bell is now an independent, since his election in 2009. Two Democrats are vying for their party's backing - Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez and City Councilman Joe McNamara - to run against him this year.
The mayor said he bought a ticket at $50 for himself and one for his father, Norman Bell, and was treated politely. He has also bought fund-raising tickets - and attended - Republican events.
"Most of the people were very cordial to me. To be a true independent you have to understand both sides. I'm trying to be equally supportive of the good issues of both sides," Bell said.
Lopez didn't think much of Bell being there. The two spoke and Lopez was overheard telling Bell, "I would just like some consistency."
Later, she elaborated, saying, "I think the city is moving in the wrong direction under our current mayor and our current mayor is definitely worried. He was not extended an invitation. I think he knows the city is moving in the wrong direction and the public is probably communicating that to him."
Asked what she meant by "consistency," she said, "I am a consistent candidate. I am a Democrat. I think it's important for citizens to know where you stand. I will not be seen with John Kasich, especially when I was not invited."
The event was to raise money for the Ohio Democratic Party. The main guest of honor was state Party Chairman Chris Redfern of Catawba Island. Redfern has said that Bell is the party's No. 1 target this year - because of his high-profile support of anti-labor Issue 2 in 2011.
Other guests included McNamara, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), state Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo), state Sen. Edna Brown (D., Toledo), party Chairman Ron Rothenbuhler, and past party Chairman John Irish.