by Jessica Lillian Weinberg
Before the statewide Spisak/Rios campaign of 2010, the last strong Green campaign in Lucas County was David Ball’s campaign for the Toledo City Council District 6 seat.
Now, in Toledo, all candidates for the same City Council seat run in the same primary, and the two with the highest votes run in the general election. Though I don’t care for the practice of equating elections to sports matches, the term “advance to the final round” does come to mind.
And that’s just what David Ball did. In first place was Democrat Lindsay Webb, who ultimately got the seat, and Ball came in second, beating out not merely a Republican, but the Republican who had been the incumbent.
In the general election, he received 32% of the vote. While the gap between his number and that of the winner may at first glance be discouraging, it’s remarkable for a so-called third-party. not unheard-of for a long-shot Democrat or Republican candidate running against a very entrenched incumbent to get a percentage in the 30s. Think, for example, some past Republican opponents of Congresswoman Kaptur. And Ball was running before were even recognized by the Secretary of State.
Now here is why I used the term “so-called third party,” above. As I was making calls to encourage voters to support Ball, one person, seemingly progressive-minded and pretty upset with both Democrats and Republicans made the case to me that the Greens ought to discontinue referring to ourselves as a “third party.” He argued that we were adopting, and legitimizing, a term used by mainstream media and the two-party system to minimize us. He said our adherence to ordinary citizens’ values gave us the right to call ourselves the “first party.” But regardless of whether or not you buy that, the Greens in Lucas County, going by numbers alone, can boast of outpacing at least one of what are supposed to be the major parties.
Originally published by the Toledo City Paper.