A.J. Wagner is running for mayor of Dayton

Screen Shot of AJ Wagner for mayor site

AJ wants to be Mayor.

I missed the announcement- but the website is up: http://ajwagnerformayor.com/home/ telling us how much AJ Wagner believes in Dayton and he will…

He’s been a career politician for at least two decades and a Montgomery County Democratic party insider. However, he quit his last elected position in an attempt to maneuver someone into his judgeship so they could run as an incumbent. When things weren’t going as planned for one of his patronage employees, he tried to “un-retire” and tell the governor who’s boss. See the posts:
A.J. Wagner shows the Governor who’s boss
How the Monarchy of Montgomery County Works: The AJ Wagner Affair

Insiders who’ve shared the story say the person he was protecting wasn’t worth it.

Although A.J. doesn’t have any use for me, I like him. He’s a nice guy, everybody’s buddy. The fact that he wouldn’t sign my petitions to help get me on the ballot, shows his true colors- he believes that the democratic process is only for insiders anointed by him and his pals.

I’m glad he’s running, just because it will make things interesting in the next election cycle. Mayor Leitzell is waiting until August to decide on his plans. Commissioner Nan Whaley thinks it’s “her turn” to be mayor. Commissioner Williams may be ready to be done with the commission. Rhine McLin is planning her comeback as well, either to fill Nan’s seat, or in a special election which will be called soon after Commissioner Lovelace gets his 20 years in and resigns.

There are some other candidates hiding in the wings, including a few who could give AJ a real run. No matter what, this will be a big money race.

Thanks to reader Melissa for giving me the tip.

Note- And AJ doesn’t believe in buying local- he went to Washington, D.C., to have his website done by Code and Politics

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36 Responses

  1. David Esrati April 27, 2012 / 8:57 pm

    @Sparks- you really need to tag your video- I think he means a young man named Adrian McElmore. Can Mr. Sparks provide links to a site?

  2. Hall April 27, 2012 / 9:39 pm
    Where does Wagner live ? Not his full address, just wondering if he’s moved inside city limits yet… :-)
  3. David Esrati April 27, 2012 / 10:27 pm

    @Hall, AJ lives as close to Oakwood as you can get in the city of Dayton, on the corner of S. Main and Stonemill- he used to put little flags on his lawn for every dead US serviceman/woman in Iraq-but had to stop when the number of flags became overwhelming.

  4. Ice Bandit April 28, 2012 / 12:55 am
    http://ajwagnerformayor.com/home/ telling us how much AJ Wagner believes in Dayton and he will… (David Esrati)
    …you had me…
    He’s been a career politician for at least two decades and a Montgomery County Democratic party insider…(David Esrati)
    …then you lost me…
  5. David Esrati April 28, 2012 / 6:04 am

    @Ice Bandit- welcome back!

  6. David Esrati April 28, 2012 / 1:16 pm

    He’s pulled the site down-

    you can find it in Google Cache:http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://ajwagnerformayor.com/home/2012/04/a-j-wagner-believes-in-dayton/

    A.J. Wagner and his wife Joan have lived in the City of Dayton since he began attending law school at the University of Dayton in 1974. A.J. was born the third child in a family of eighteen children. His family was economically poor but blessed with abundant faith, love and opportunity. A.J. believes that his career from janitor to steel worker to teacher to banker to lawyer to publisher to auditor to judge must be the kind of career available to all of Dayton’s children. A.J. believes in Dayton.

    A.J. believes in Dayton’s EDUCATION opportunities. Education is our most powerful economic development tool. Our public schools are continuously improving. Our colleges are first rate. A.J. will pursue a plan that begins education before kindergarten and runs, for all those who qualify and apply themselves, through a college diploma paid for by private and public benefactors.

    A.J. believes in Dayton’s ENTREPRENEURISM. Invention is our history and our future. We will follow our predecessors, the Wright Brothers, Kettering, Deeds and Fraze by developing unmanned flight, biomedical advances and modern composites that can change the face of Dayton and the world. A.J. will develop resources to create new businesses while also encouraging the growth of existing businesses and attracting businesses from around the world.

    A.J. believes in Dayton’s NEIGHBORHOODS. Our living spaces are the core of our community spirit. Where we live must be safe and clean with amenities that encourage interaction and recreation. A.J. will continue the tradition of community policing. He will update housing codes and bring new life to code enforcement. A.J. wants to see walkable neighborhoods with parks, shops and businesses placed among community gardens and stable housing.

    A.J. Wagner believes in Dayton’s ART and ENTERTAINMENT community. From sports to dance to festivals to theater to museums and libraries our creativity is enhanced and our spirit fed by both participation and observation of art and entertainment. A.J., who has authored several children’s books, wants to assist and maintain the stability of our strong arts community.

    A.J. Wagner believes in DAYTON. He believes that by improving educational opportunities, encouraging business growth, investing in neighborhoods and supporting arts others will come to believe in Dayton as a destination, a spirit, an attitude, a vision and a home.

    Categories Blog | Tags: | Posted on April 15, 2012

    From Meet AJ:

    A.J. Wagner has a proven track record of putting families first and has protected our families throughout his years of community and public service in Dayton and Montgomery County. A.J. Wagner began his career as an elementary school teacher before he entered law school and started his own law practice.  Wagner went on to serve as a Probate Court referee, Municipal Court judge, Montgomery County Auditor and Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge.

    A.J. Wagner has been a strong and committed advocate for the City of Dayton and Montgomery County for over 30 years.  Growing up as one of 18 children in the Wagner household, A.J. Wagner understands the importance of family and the challenges that parents face every day in raising their children.  He currently serves as a board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Miami Valley, Dayton Mediation Center Advisory Board and Think TV Visionary Society Committee.  He is a former board member for…..(insert). Wagner is also an accomplished author on several children’s books, authoring a book on character education for his local school district that is still being used by teachers today.  A.J. Wagner lives in Dayton with his wife, Joan McGuiness Wagner.  They have two adult daughters and two grandchildren.

    A.J. Wagner has earned a reputation for strong leadership.  As a former judge, Wagner understands the importance of being fair, but firm with those that put the safety and security of our communities at risk.  As a former county auditor, Wagner has a proven track record of holding corporations accountable to ensure that all members of the community are paying their fair share to give our schools the resources they need to be effective.  If elected Mayor of Dayon, Wagner has the experience, vision and record of success to move Dayton forward.

  7. Rick Nash April 29, 2012 / 9:16 am
    I think it’s brilliant for a person running for United States House of Representatives to write a disparaging post about another candidate – very inspiring and professional.  Secondarily, a so called advertising professional who creates a fake name utilizing the brand and name of another, would never be considered advertising malpractice or at the very least petty. No not at all. (SMH)  

    Much in the way your company’s website is written, you seem to live your life in constant comparison to other more successful businesses, companies, and in this case persons and politicians. it’s actually a bit embarrassing to read.  

    Perhaps you should spend more time creating a platform telling people why they should believe in you, your ideas and your professional business products instead of attacking other candidates who you cannot compete with and other businesses who’s creative products are far better than yours. 

    One thing is clearly evident in this blog post, at best an you’re an unsuccessful political gadfly and you run an ad agency who’s creative product couldn’t get in the doors of local car dealerships.

    Oh and that congressional web video, with a platform railing against yard signs for the first 30-45 seconds…Genius!  Absolutely relevant to a federal office. 

  8. David Esrati April 29, 2012 / 11:12 am

    @”Rick Nash”- not your real name. Welcome. I allow idiots to post here as long as they keep the same name. However, your url will be edited because you aren’t from Politico.

    I also have to delete your email address- because I know it’s not really your address.

    And- I’m not running for Congress right now. That was over in the primary. News Flash.

    I didn’t take “WagnerforMayor” on Twitter- someone else did. They are within their right- and, they don’t represent themselves as Wagner- being “The Fake AJ Wagner”

    Unlike Mr. Wagner, I do create my platform and share it with the community- on a regular basis. Unlike Congressman Turner and AJ Wagner- I do it in the first person, and even take time responding to people like you. Maybe if you read a bit of it- you’d know.

    Because you’ve spent so much effort hiding your name, your URL and your IP- my guess is that you are from the company that screwed up and put up Mr. Wagner’s site – complete with the “Hello World” post. Nice job.

    Real critics have no problem signing their name.

  9. Hall April 29, 2012 / 12:35 pm
    I have to quote one of his comments: “Perhaps you should spend more time creating a platform telling people why they should believe in you, your ideas and your professional business products…” and agree with it. Mind you, you by all means put your ideas out there. No one can deny that ! All too often though, and I’ve pointed this out to you before, you always have to get a “dig” in or add some insult. 

    In regards to negative campaigning, any candidate that does it does NOT get my vote. It’s not one candidate’s job to tell me what another person has done or will do wrong. Is it typical today though ? Sadly, yes… 

  10. Rahn Keucher April 29, 2012 / 1:31 pm
  11. David Lauri April 29, 2012 / 1:32 pm
    I know that nitpicking about grammar isn’t really welcome on Esrati.com (mentioning when someone uses the now American standard spelling of “it’s” for the possessive form of “it” is verboten), but Rick Nash should really learn the difference between “who’s” and “whose.”

    I’m sorry you got caught in the crossfire, Harlan, err, Rick.  You do mostly good work and you’re on the right side, working to get progressives elected.  You weren’t the main target — it’s just that you’re in DC, and as someone who “specialize[s] in online strategy and creative for candidates” you should have known that 1) a Dayton politician going out of the area for web development might be a touchy subject here and that 2) a web developer should snag the twitter handle he wants to use before linking to it anywhere.  At least you’ve snagged the @wagnerfordayton Twitter handle, and you’ll probably not make a similar mistake again for other clients.

    And for the record, David Esrati did not put me up to snagging @wagnerformayor. I read David E’s post about AJ’s running for mayor, took a look at the site, saw the “four things to do RIGHT NOW,” clicked on each link and was amazed that the “follow us on Twitter” link took me to a Twitter handle that hadn’t been claimed. Was it childish of me to snag that Twitter handle?  Sure, but I’ve done some childish things before.

    I don’t actually have anything against AJ.  If he’d care to come out on the record as being in favor of some pro-gay things (keeping the city’s nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, implementing a domestic partnership registry, repealing Ohio’s stupid ban on marriage equality), I could be persuaded to give him his @wagnerformayor Twitter handle. Those would be nice issues for a progressive candidate in 2012 or 2013 to take a stand on.

  12. Harlan April 29, 2012 / 3:23 pm
    Good afternoon,

    I want to set the record straight. This Rick Nash guy is not me, anyone who works for me, etc.. I have no idea who he/she is.

    We all make mistakes, I’m falible. I work hard every single day, and often nights with no sleep, to elect REAL progressives. We are all on the same team, fighting for the same values. I believe in the work I do.

    I messed up and take responsibility for it. But I won’t have my name associated with the above derisive comment. 


    ps. Whoever snagged the twitter handle, please consider releasing it to me. My email is [email protected]

  13. Hall April 29, 2012 / 3:32 pm
    Harlan, see the post right above yours for the conditions to get the Twitter handle back. Given AJ’s past stance on issues that conflict with his religious beliefs, I just don’t see it happening though…
  14. J Dziwulski April 29, 2012 / 4:18 pm
     So AJ is using his religion as a cover for copping out on the gay issue?  Good to know!
  15. Hall April 29, 2012 / 4:23 pm
    “Copping out” ? You sure jump to conclusions (assumptions)… Maybe he feels it’s not an important issue, maybe he has no opinion on the matter, etc
  16. David Esrati April 29, 2012 / 4:28 pm

    @Harlan- welcome. We do appreciate the efforts of people working to get progressives elected, but, as stated above, we do seem to have a problem with local politicians spending big bucks outside our community.

    Your site did what it was supposed to do- get found on an internet search, that’s why I too use WordPress. It does the job.

    AJ is going to have to have a talk with Mr. Lauri about his twitter handle- I’m not involved.

    But, really- the biggest problem is Mr. Wagner isn’t really that progressive- he’s still a Montgomery County Democratic Party Line guy who would rather protect patronage jobs and do what his puppetmasters tell him to do.

    He doesn’t get the whole social media, hang it all out there and have a conversation thing, and- when asked to help the democratic process and sign a petition- he flat out refused.

    Maybe you can point him to: http://esrati.com/questions-for-aj-wagner-our-future-mayor/8705/ and he can answer all of those questions in writing on his new site you are building- I’m sure if he does that, Mr. Lauri will gladly hand him back his twitter handle.


  17. Dad April 29, 2012 / 4:45 pm
    David Lauri wrote: “I know that nitpicking about grammar isn’t really welcome on Esrati.com (mentioning when someone uses the now American standard spelling of ‘it’s’ for the possessive form of “it” is verboten), but Rick Nash should really learn the difference between ‘who’s and ‘whose.’ ”
    I agree wholeheartedly. His grammar shows the low level of U.SA. teaching.
  18. David Lauri April 29, 2012 / 6:00 pm
    I get that you work hard and that you make mistakes.  (Clever of you to spell “fallible” the way you did to illustrate that.)
    And the Twitter handle was just that, a mistake that AJ, given his background, couldn’t have been expected to check on.
    The irony, however, of a site in which AJ touts his caring about Dayton (which I’m sure he does to a certain extent) while including the branding of a DC-based firm on the bottom of every page is something that even AJ should have caught.  I know you started work on his site before the fracas flared up about the City of Dayton hiring an out-of-state firm to develop a website for the city (see this Esrati post and this Dayton Daily News article), but AJ should have been aware of it and thought to himself, “Hey, my new website is by an out-of-state firm — perhaps I should manage this issue.”
    And about “elect[ing] REAL progressives” — you say on the top of your website that you work “for candidates, organizations and causes that we believe in.” Is AJ Wagner a real progressive in whom you believe?  I don’t have enough information myself to know.  I looked at the Issues page on his new website and didn’t see anything about the issue I care most about — equality for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.
    Others who serve and who have served on the Dayton city commission have shown themselves by their actions to be real progressives on this issue. I’d love for AJ to join them as a real progressive and state his commitment to LGBT equality.  I get that marriage equality may be too much — there are up and coming Democratic governors unafraid to be out for marriage equality but one of the LGBT’s strongest allies is still evolving on marriage.  However, this Wednesday the Dayton city commission will be discussing a domestic partnership registry.  Where does AJ, as a possible future mayor, stand on that?
  19. djw April 30, 2012 / 1:26 am
    David Lauri; well done. You’re doing the city a favor here. The last thing the City of Dayton needs is someone who’ll hide behind religion to excuse bigotry. The leaders of his religion oppose equal civil rights for the LBGT community, but many good and decent Catholics have the decency and courage to ignore the bigotry at the top and do the right thing. A minimum condition for voting for AJ Wagner would be to know if he’s in that latter group or not, and for some reason he didn’t see fit to put that on his statement about issues. Your offer is eminently fair, and one way or another it should clear things up.
  20. Bubba Jones April 30, 2012 / 7:42 am
    >>> I agree wholeheartedly. His grammar shows the low level of U.SA. teaching. <<< – Dad

    I agree, Dad.  He probably went to public schools.  If he had been home schooled there’s a high probability that his grammar and spelling would be a lot better. 

  21. Dad April 30, 2012 / 9:08 am
    I believe in public schools. I attended the oldest public high school in America, the English High School of Boston. For many years, English shared a building with the best public high school in America, the Public Latin School. All of us knew the difference between “who’s” and “whose.”
  22. Dan April 30, 2012 / 9:33 am
    isn’t AJ the guy who usually takes the conservative side of the column in the Dayton City Paper? Please explain how this guy is a progressive in any way?
  23. djw April 30, 2012 / 10:37 am
    Dan, his columns are here:
    I thought I remembered him taking the “right” side of one of those debates, but he’s not the usual person. Judging from his columns in the City Paper, his politics are all over the map but he almost always comes off as smug.
  24. djw April 30, 2012 / 10:54 am
    Dan–our memories were not playing tricks on us:
    He takes the “right” side in the debate about the UD administration refusing to grant authorization to a secularist student club. (As you can see if you read it, in so doing he made rather nasty accusations about some students’ behavior and intentions, was called on it, and grudgingly apologized in comments. Regardless of the merits of his argument, this column reflects quite poorly on his character IMO).
  25. David Lauri May 8, 2012 / 5:40 pm
    Looks like the new ajwagnerformayor.com website is up, with a new design but really just a placeholder that asks people to “check back for more information soon.”  It does have a link to a new Twitter account, @WagnerforDayton, that has only one tweet so far.  (The old @wagnerformayor account has not been changed since I last touched it, although I did email AJ the password for it.)
  26. David Esrati May 8, 2012 / 9:23 pm

    And I’m sure it’s still built in DC.

  27. Hall May 8, 2012 / 9:29 pm
    “although I did email AJ the password for it”

    Did he agree to stand up for the gay-rights issues you mentioned ?

    “And I’m sure it’s still built in DC.” 
    Funny that they removed the reference to who is building the site !  

  28. David Lauri May 9, 2012 / 9:51 am
    @Hall: As I reported on my blog, AJ told me in an email that he was “fully supportive” of Dayton’s domestic partnership registry and that he is “also supportive of  gay marriage.”
    Perhaps I was foolish not to wait for him to state that publicly, perhaps on his fancy new website, but I decided it was good enough for now.
    And in the big article in this week’s Dayton City Paper helping him to launch his campaign (I guess DCP really likes him), he does say, “My faith is strong, but on the same token, I believe that if you’re going to part of democratic government, you can’t insert your religion into it.”
    As David E said, it’ll be good to have AJ in the race to keep things interesting. Mayor Leitzell was surprisingly (to me, at least) supportive on the domestic partnership registry (perhaps because it has no teeth but it is at least a step). Should the mayor decide to run for re-election, perhaps he will evolve on his stance on the dangers of redefining a traditional word like marriage now that other candidates are willing to come out for marriage equality.
  29. David Lauri May 9, 2012 / 3:42 pm
    This just in — “Obama Says Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Legal“:

    President Obama on Wednesday ended nearly two years of “evolving” on the issue of same-sex marriage by publicly endorsing it in a television interview, taking a definitive stand on one of the most contentious and politically charged social issues of the day.

    So although marriage isn’t a local issue I wonder if all Dayton mayoral and commission candidates will follow the president’s lead and come out once and all for marriage equality.
    And Mayor Leitzell might want to add his name to the growing list of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry. The sky hasn’t fallen in the jurisdictions which have marriage equality, and by evolving and finally getting past this, we can focus on other important issues.

  30. TomCat May 10, 2012 / 1:29 am
    The new site wasn’t built in DC, done locally in Dayton by these guys:


  31. David Esrati May 10, 2012 / 7:41 am

    confirmed- Ohlmann Group did the new site.

  32. Bubba Jones May 10, 2012 / 9:52 am
    >>> President Obama on Wednesday ended nearly two years of “evolving” on the issue of same-sex marriage by publicly endorsing it in a television interview <<<

    Thank goodness that President Obama “evolves” and would never flip-flop on an issue like that hack Romney!! I am confident that his stated views are heartfelt and not merely offered for any political reasons. 

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