When you can't field more than 5 candidates for Cincinnati City Council it is clear your party either just doesn't care about the city or just down right hates it and cares only about the burbs. There are months ahead before candidates have to collect enough signatures and the local GOP is done endorsing. Sure, if you want to actually be a winning candidate, you need to be raising money now to have a reasonable chance, but not everyone has a chance anyway. Major political parties that are serious about a political race actually play to win it. The GOP I contend, at least those I'll label "the powers that be," would like to see the city fail, much like many want to see President Obama fail. Those living in the suburbs, the money base for most things GOP in the area, are not inclined to fund anything in the City, even a GOP candidate. Sure a few might, but most don't care to fund their own local township races, so the city is like a foreign political county.
No, I am not saying all Republicans want the city to fail, just those with the power. Those with the power would rather see the city slide into the river so attention and power and federal funding for the area could be reentered in the burbs. That would build up their power more, which yeah, is the goal of nearly every person ever labeled as part of the "powers that be."
I will applaud all 5 of the GOP endorsed candidates for City Council: Leslie Ghiz, Chris Monzel, George Zamary, Charlie Winburn, and Amy Murry. All I believe care about the city and in ways I may not agree with, want the city to succeed. Yes, that even goes for Charlie Winburn!
All of that said, sure there is a method to a short slate. When you want to try and gain a seat or two, then a short slate is logical plan to get you there. That hurts in the long run. You don't build up a big enough bench, which is a massive GOP problem right now that shows no signs of changing.