By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer
Democrat Wilma Brown was the only candidate to beat an incumbent member of city council last night – but it came at the expense of fellow Democrat.
Ms. Brown, a 12-year veteran of the Toledo board of education, blasted past June Boyd, winning by a final, but unofficial nearly two-to-one margin, 7,561 to 3,829.
“I’m very happy,” Ms. Brown said, from a celebration held at the headquarters of UAW Local 12.
The results end a race that saw a flurry of accusations and threatened lawsuits, along with the unusual spectacle of an incumbent being denied her own party’s endorsement for re-election.
Lucas County Democrats passed over Ms. Boyd in March, amid citizen complaints and allegations of personal fiscal wrongdoing.
Since 1988, Ms. Boyd has been named the defendant in at least 15 civil lawsuits for nonpayment of debt. And on Oct. 26, The Blade reported that a $657 check Ms. Boyd wrote for her August mortgage payment bounced. The check was drawn on Ms. Boyd’s re-election campaign account.
An official from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office said the check is likely an improper use of campaign funds.
Ms. Boyd, who has been active with the Lucas County Democrats since 1957 and has served one term on council, said the party’s leadership spread information about the bounced check and other alleged improprieties in a campaign to defeat her.
Last month, Ms. Boyd threatened to sue Democratic Party operatives who she said leaked the information. Party leaders have denied any such effort.
Amid the soap opera, Ms. Brown said her emphasis on issues important to the district gave her the victory.
“I think I knew about the priorities of the district,” she said. “My opponent only talked about the city. I talked about the district.”
Ms. Brown said the endorsement of local Democrats “made all the difference” and that she would not have run without it. “That’s how you get your volunteers.”
Democratic leaders asked Ms. Boyd not to run after she did not receive the endorsement, but she refused.
Ms. Boyd admitted that publicity about her finances damaged her campaign. “I acknowledge that perhaps my loss was due to a lot of my personal problems,” she said.
But she took comfort in the tight victory of Mayor Carty Finkbeiner. Ms. Boyd was one of the mayor’s most ardent supporters on council this term.
Ms. Brown said her first priority on council will be to fix the drainage system in the Secor Gardens area. She also will focus on ensuring that district residents receive the amount of city services they deserve, she said.