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      Bell tops Wilkowski capping gentlemanly campaign

      Mike Bell has been elected mayor of Toledo, Ohio.

      Unofficial results show Bell capturing 52% of the vote compared to Keith Wilkowski's 48%. Early returns showed Wilkowski in the lead but as the night progressed Bell's vote tally began to increase and by 9:30 pm Bell had taken the lead. With each new vote tally Bell's lead grew more and more.

      As the momentum began to shift Bell took the microphone at 10:30 pm at the Navy Bistro at the Docks restaurant in East Toledo and gave a stirring speech that electrified the throng of people that gathered to watch the returns. At around 11:30 pm Wilkowski called Bell to concede the election. When news of the Wilkowski concession filtered throughout the restaurant the crowd erupted with a spontaneous display of jubilation and Bell lifted his hands in victory surrounded by his closest campaign advisors and staff. "We will get together, we will not only turn the city of Toledo around we will with our neighbors surrounding us turn this whole Northwest Ohio around," Mr. Bell said.

      Bell was Toledo's fire chief for 17 years. He was subsequently appointed by Governor Ted Strickland to be state fire marshal. Bell will succeed Carty Finkbeiner who declined to seek re-election. Though Mike Bell is a registered Democrat he ran as an independent in the mayor's race.