UPDATING WITH LOPEZ CAMPAIGN RESPONSE AND JACK FORD COMMENT
The Joe McNamara campaign is out today with a tough new radio ad directly taking on Democratic opponent Anita Lopez in the mayor's race in the black community. The Lopez campaign labeled it as "race-baiting."
The commercial credits Councilman McNamara, the only other Democrat in the 8-way mayoral primary Tuesday, with supporting former Mayor Jack Ford for a vacant council seat.
The ad is playing on "The Juice," WJUC-FM, 107.3; "Mix," WIMX-FM, 95.7, and "Hot" WJZE-FM, 97.3 and is right here:
The ad refers to McNamara's refusal in January to support the party's and local construction labor leaders' candidate Shaun Enright for an appointment to council. McNamara was threatened with removal from the party's executive committee because of his opposition to Enright and his support of Ford.
"The bosses threatened him, tried to intimidate him, but Joe McNamara never backs down," the narrator says.
The ad says that Lopez voted against Ford, a reference to a vote that took place in a closed-door meeting of the Lucas County Democratic Party executive committee.
"[Lopez] voted to reduce the number of African-Americans on city council," and "turned her back on Jack Ford."
"Joe Mac stood with Jack Ford because Joe McNamara stands with us," says an anonymous narrator, obviously refering to the black community. Gospel-sounding organ music plays behind the narrator's words.
The ad gives the impression that McNamara's only opponent is Lopez, making no allusion to the African-American candidate, independent incumbent Mayor Mike Bell.
Diane May, Lopez's spokesman, said, "Its no surprise that in the final days of his failing campaign Mr. McNamara has lowered himself to race-baiting to try to get votes. The ad is cheap and cynical. It is characteristic of the negative campaign he is running. Toledoans need to work together to address the problems in our community. Trying to divide people along racial lines for personal political gain is shameful and he should pull the ad."
Former Mayor Ford said he did not approve or disapprove of the ad, and indicated that McNamara took it upon himself to support his bid for council.
"I was aware that he was going to run an ad. I don't bless Joe’s campaign. He’s his own man. I think he decided that he was going to support me. I don’t think he took on the party bosses so much as he probably thought I was the more progressive guy in that particular fight. It’s a tough ad. I think he’s within 4 days of a crucial election in his career and he’s playing hardball."
Speaking of the council election, in which Ford is a candidate, he said he didn't screen for the Lucas County Democratic Party's endorsement because the party didn't endorse his candidacy for re-election in 2005 and it didn't endorse his bid for council in January. "Twice burned is enough for me," he said.