Saturday, April 16, 2005

Wenzel's Move

Fritz Wenzel, the political reporter for The Blade, Toledo's hometown newspaper, announced today on his blog he's making a move after 10 years on Superior and starting his own communications consulting shop. (Which is my vocation, along with being a politician. Who knows, maybe we'll see Fritz on the ballot one day?) I wish him well and tip my hat.

I remember first meeting him at Democratic Headquarters back in early 1997, after I returned from working the Clinton-Gore 96 race in Washington, DC. I believe I first earned mention in one of his stories for having to explain a purchase of yard signs made in Kentucky, rather than Toledo. He waxed on in his column the next week about the negative 'multiplier effect' on the Toledo economy. Properly chastened, I resolved to keep sharp as this reporter knew a thing or two about what makes a good campaign.

Its no secret that many on the Democratic side always thought if Fritz let any bias slip into his reporting or columns, he generally favored Republicans - of course I'm biased too, though. That said, he and I have always gotten along. He is a good journalist who did good work for The Blade. His stuff had definite impacts on the campaigns I've been involved with over the years.

As a fellow student of politics, more than once I was somewhat jealous of his access to national politicians and their travels. I first experienced the New Hampshire primary in December 1991, stumping for Clinton, and fondly recall chatting with The Washington Post's legendary David Broder, handicapping the Arkansas Governor's chances as he worked a town hall meeting as only Clinton could. Fritz has a notebook full of stories like that - and then some - I'm sure.

Local Democrats have certainly delivered a wonderful parting gift for Fritz with all our turmoil - some great stories the past few weeks, I especially liked the coverage of the Ford kickoff. The 06 state elections will be fascinating, and I know he'll remain a key observer, perhaps playing some sort of active role. Maybe he'll continue on Sunday morning TV when Finkbeiner is finally canned as he officially kicks off his last run for office - he could even break that story on April 23rd, the next time Carty & the Kest gang gather at the Teamsters - a coup de grâce.