Will Shilling took this photo during my interview with Bill Todd two weeks before the election on November 6.

As you know by now, Republican mayoral candidate Bill Todd lost in a landslide to Democratic incumbent Michael Coleman, who received 69,513 of 100,033 total votes cast. Coleman's camp was predicting about 70 percent, and their predictions were accurate.

(Full elections results can be found at DispatchPolitics.com.)

Winning 70-percent of the vote is bullet-proof evidence that voters have confidence in Mayor Coleman's ability to create the "21st century city" that was the basis of his campaign. Either that, or voters were completely afraid of his fear-mongering, reactionary opponent.

That would be Todd, an established attorney who has lived in Central Ohio for 35 years. (He recently moved from Powell to the North Side in order to run in the election.)

What stuck most firmly in the minds of voters was Todd's infamous radio ad. Among other elements, this ad, which gained citywide media attention, used: soundbites of a woman being raped; ominous voiceover; gunshots; and citations that per-capita rape rates were higher in Columbus than Los Angeles.

Other signs of a negative, attack-based campaign could be found on Todd's website (votebilltodd.com) and in numerous TV spots that ran in the months before the campaign. Whatever Coleman said, Todd found faults with it.

This was not the man I met.

Will Shilling took this photo during my interview with Bill Todd two weeks before the election on November 6.

As you know by now, Republican mayoral candidate Bill Todd lost in a landslide to Democratic incumbent Michael Coleman, who received 69,513 of 100,033 total votes cast. Coleman's camp was predicting about 70 percent, and their predictions were accurate.

(Full elections results can be found at DispatchPolitics.com.)

Winning 70-percent of the vote is bullet-proof evidence that voters have confidence in Mayor Coleman's ability to create the "21st century city" that was the basis of his campaign. Either that, or voters were completely afraid of his fear-mongering, reactionary opponent.

That would be Todd, an established attorney who has lived in Central Ohio for 35 years. (He recently moved from Powell to the North Side in order to run in the election.)

What stuck most firmly in the minds of voters was Todd's infamous radio ad. Among other elements, this ad, which gained citywide media attention, used: soundbites of a woman being raped; ominous voiceover; gunshots; and citations that per-capita rape rates were higher in Columbus than Los Angeles.

Other signs of a negative, attack-based campaign could be found on Todd's website (votebilltodd.com) and in numerous TV spots that ran in the months before the campaign. Whatever Coleman said, Todd found faults with it.

This was not the man I met.

In order not to sway voters, I decided to wait until now to disclose that I sat down with an endearing, level-headed lawyer with fresh, interesting ideas about many issues facing young professionals in Central Ohio. Mike Brown, Coleman's spokesman, had mentioned that there was a "Jekyll and Hyde" duality to Todd; I met the kind doctor, not the raving lunatic who came out at night.

When asked about green issues, Todd spoke at length about creating biodiesel fuel from unused methane gas. When asked about streetcars, he insisted that better bus transit was needed before streetcars. He thought we should offer free recycling instead of complimentary trash pickup.

On several issues, he was more concrete than Coleman. On others, the two candidates offered equally interesting -- though much different -- perspectives.

Sure, Todd had nothing to lose. And when a politician has nothing to lose, he can be more concrete; he can offer things, say, that a sitting mayor knows would be impossible to fund. Unhindered by reality, challengers often can be great promisers. But why hide good ideas -- no matter how feasible -- from a public that seemed at least interested in hearing another point of view?

The post-race editorial written by The Dispatch put it best:

"The people who re-elected Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman on Tuesday saw in his campaign a reflection of their own positive views about Columbus, one of the few big cities outside of the Sun Belt that's thriving."

It continued:

"The negative campaign of his opponent, Republican Bill Todd, turned off voters as it went overboard, airing doom-and-gloom radio ads, including a particularly objectionable one that included the cries of a woman being raped. Todd got bad campaign advice and he ran with it -- right into the ground."

Todd's campaign certainly ran aground, likely scaring even some Republican voters who didn't want to envision their Downtown as a seedy strip of rapists, thugs and murderers.

Maybe you can't out-nice Mayor Mike. Maybe you can't out-patient Mayor Mike. Maybe a negative campaign is the only way to oust an elected official who has made his career often being right and always being liked.

Whatever the case, it's a shame that the candidate I met didn't rear his fairly friendly head in public.

Not because I think Mayor Coleman isn't a good a mayor (which I do) or that I wanted Todd to win (I took neither side). Only because an election with two interesting candidates makes the political process better for everyone.