Friday, January 09, 2009

Moody mayoral campaign gets a rough start

Republican Jim Moody plans to formerly announce his candidacy for Toledo mayor on Tuesday, but two days ago he opened the first of what his says will be three campaign offices.

Being new to the political arena, people did some research on him and, as a result, discussion on many Toledo-area blogs (and then main stream media) ended up focusing on his residency.

According to the city charter, a mayor must be a resident for a full year when s/he takes office. Moody owns homes in Toledo and Sylvania Township. So the natural question is 'where does he actually live?'

During an interview with Brian Wilson on NewsTalk 1370 WSPD yesterday, Moody explained that he is living in his Toledo home while his wife and daughter remain in the Sylvania Township home so that his daughter can continue in her school. He explained that his family will reconsider this decision 'when' he wins. He said he's lived in his Toledo house since July.

Many people would understand and even sympathize with the decision to allow a child to continue in her school. However, from a campaign strategy standpoint, this is certainly not the way to begin what you hope will be a winning campaign.

Moody's mayoral opponents and political detractors will have a field day with this one. I predict that any number of criticisms will be directed to or at him, in an attempt to sway voters:

"Do you want a mayor who leaves his family on their own just to run for office?"

"Do you want a mayor whose family doesn't want to live in the city he wants to lead?"

"Do you want a mayor who doesn't care enough about the city to actually move his family into it?"

"If he was that committed to Toledo and that confident of winning, wouldn't it be better to move his family now, rather wait to see 'if' he wins?"

"Do you really think he lives in Toledo and not with his family in Sylvania Township? How much time does he spend in each location?"

These are the doubts that already abound. Smart opponents (and they are smart) will take advantage of this perceived weakness, constantly reminding voters of it throughout the campaign. It might not have a lot of traction as an issue, but it will be enough to cause a voter to think again, which is never a good thing when you're trying to earn their support.

This issue and the less than effective way it's been handled has put Moody on the defensive - a position you don't want to be in as a political candidate - and will, at least in the short term, divert attention from any platform he wants to advance.

It is not a good way to start a campaign.


Patty said...

Anyone brave enough to take on the City of Toledo and the Blade to become our next mayor could live in Alaska and commute for all I care. If he has more intelligence then the common ground squirrel on the 22nd floor then we should welcome him with open arms. He will have to prove to me that he has what it takes to stand up to the ugliness that is sure to follow.

Maggie Thurber said...

ah, Patty ...

Good words: "He will have to prove to me that he has what it takes ..."

Yes - and that the policies he promotes are not a regurgitation of the same things that have been done for the last 20-40 years which got us into this mess in the first place...

time will tell.

Maggie Thurber said...

Further thought...even though residency might not matter to you, it could to some people and my point about this being a rough start is still valid.

2Bn11FA said...

I have a question...does the residency "requirement" even apply anymore? I thought that the Ohio Supreme Court decided that cities could not force employees to live within the city limits as long as they were in the same county or the county next to the one where they work...isn't the Mayor the ultimate City Employee? just asking!

Maggie Thurber said...

2Bn11FA - good question, but no...the elected position is not an 'employee.'

The city charter determines eligibility for office and most (if not all) elected positions have residency requirements.

Google Analytics Alternative