McNamara and Lopez face-off over campaign practices

Democrats running for Toledo Mayor went head-to-head on Monday amidst accusations of unethical campaign practices.

An article printed Sunday in the Toledo Blade claims Lucas County Auditor and mayoral candidate Anita Lopez has been having campaign staffers fill out questionnaires in response to media interview requests. The â??Media Interview Formâ?? details information the Lopez campaign determines the reporter is after. One of the forms the Blade released also lists â??Bridging and Steeringâ?? phrases that candidate Joe McNamara says can be used to give pre-determined answers.

â??Lopez needs questions submitted to her beforehand so that her political handlers can write a script for her to answer questions,â?? said McNamara at a press conference on Monday outside the Lucas County Courthouse.

Lopez responded to the accusation as a â??desperate attack.â??

â??When we take that information that is based upon making sure we provide accurate and transparent information to the public,â?? said Lopez. She added, â??This is truly a ploy from McNamaraâ??s campaign to distract citizens from the real issues.â??

McNamara also accused Lopez of using taxpayer dollars to hire staffers in the auditorâ??s office to work on her campaign during work hours.

â??Weâ??ve seen lots of examples of that, that is a problem,â?? said McNamara. He added, â??Toledo deserves better.â??

Without a script in sight, Lopez told WNWO that her campaign will deliver what Toledo deserves.

â??Iâ??m that candidate that has a solid plan for the cityâ??s future, for economic development,â?? said Lopez. She continued, â??We need safe and strong neighborhoods, and we also need a mayor who has experience and can create a government that works for the people.â??

Lopez declined McNamaraâ??s invitation last week for a debate. Lopez says she is â??More than willing and excitedâ?? to debate in a forum where all the official candidates can participate.