By La Prensa Staff

Recently appointed Lucas County Commissioner Anita López cleared perhaps her biggest political hurdle to staying in office by defeating another veteran Democrat in the March 19, 2024 primary election.

The win is her second in just three months over fellow Democrat and state senator Paula Hicks Hudson, who bowed out of a contested race in January to be selected to the seat just before a vote by the party’s central committee. That intraparty win led to her appointment as county commissioner to replace Tina Skeldon Wozniak, who retired at the end of last year.

Ms. López won the primary vote by roughly 2,500 votes, or 55 percent to 45 percent of the vote for Hicks-Hudson, who now will remain in the Ohio Senate to finish her term. However, about two-thirds of registered Democrats in Lucas County voted in the primary, which only had an overall voter turnout of 17 percent.

“I’ve been so honored to be a public servant in Lucas County and I promise to never let anyone down and continue to work hard,” Ms. López told WTOL-TV election night.

“The voters have spoken and I wish my opponent well,” Ms. Hicks-Hudson told WTOL-TV. “I hope that she will be able to move the county forward.”

Ms. López gave up her longtime county auditor office to take the county commissioner seat, a calculated political gamble that could have left her without political office at the end of 2024 had she not won the March primary.

But she touts her experience as county auditor with winning over many individual voters. Ms. López has been an outspoken critic over the years regarding the heavy reliance on local property tax levies to fund local government operations. She even released an online tax calculator so voters could see directly how levy votes would affect their individual bottom line after an election. She also openly encouraged homeowners to challenge their property tax values, angering many local school district officials who rely on that funding.

To this point, Ms. López, an attorney, has campaigned on rebuilding faith in government, adding new jobs, have county commissioners be more accessible and transparent to the public, particularly in their deliberations at commissioner meetings. Her job pays $113,446 annually.

Ms. López now faces Republican challenger John Rozic, who ran unopposed for commissioner in the primary. Roughly two-thirds of Lucas County’s nearly 300,000 registered voters don’t declare party affiliation, making them independent voters. Only one percent of those voters even bothered to show up at the polls March 19. So there is a huge bloc of voters to win over between now and November, which is a presidential election with a much larger voter turnout expected.

Rozic is a Waterville city council member and former president of the Anthony Wayne Schools board of education. He is a local attorney with Schindler Neff and primarily practices in estate planning, taxation, real estate and employee benefits. He graduated from the University of Toledo College of Law.