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POLITICS 9 Democrats to vie for Youngstown mayor

Friday, February 18, 2005

Thursday was the deadline to turn in petitions for the May primary.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Nine Democrats will face off in the May 3 primary for Youngstown mayor, and three will battle to be the nominee in the city council president race.
Three of the mayoral candidates filed Thursday, the deadline to turn in nominating petitions for the May primary.
The three are: Patricia A. O'Connell of Wilbur Avenue, who was a candidate for the Youngstown school board in 2001; Bill Flickinger of South Garland Avenue, who last year ran for Mahoning County commissioner; and Diane Murphy, who is registered at the elections board as a Beaver Township resident but owns a home in the city on McCollum Road.
Election board officials said Murphy's residency would probably force her off the ballot, and they said she doesn't appear to have enough valid signatures on her petitions.
Mayoral candidates need 50 valid signatures on nominating petitions. Murphy's petitions had 51 names, but four people printed their names instead of using their signature. That is typically not considered an allowable signature by elections boards in Ohio. If the board decides that at least two aren't acceptable, Murphy would be disqualified, though she could appeal.
Election boards in Ohio must certify petitions by next Thursday.
Well-known candidates
Six well-known candidates filed their petitions to run for mayor earlier this week. They are: state Rep. Sylvester D. Patton Jr., state Sen. Robert F. Hagan, Police Chief Robert Bush, council President James E. Fortune, Councilman Michael Rapovy of the 5th Ward, and former council President John R. Swierz.
The Democratic primary winner would face Republican Robert C. Korchnak, a 40-year-old self-employed scrap metal hauler, and anyone running as a nonparty candidate. Korchnak was soundly defeated in the 2001 city school board race.
Republican officials had hoped David Raspanti, a painting contractor, would run as their party's mayoral candidate. Instead, he plans to support Jay Williams, the city's community development agency head, who says he'll run as a nonparty candidate in the general election.
Atkinson seeks presidency
Nonparty, also known as independent, candidates have until May 2, the day before the partisan primary, to file. Joe Louis Teague, a 2002 unsuccessful congressional candidate, didn't waste any time. He filed Thursday to run as a nonparty candidate for mayor.
Besides Korchnak, the only Republican running for office in Mahoning County is Youngstown Councilman Richard W. Atkinson of the 3rd Ward. Atkinson, the only current Republican politician in Mahoning County elected in a partisan race, is running for council president.
On the Democratic side, there are three candidates running in the party's primary for council president: Councilman Mark S. Memmer of the 7th Ward; Water Commissioner Charles P. Sammarone, a former longtime council president, and M. Mike McNair, the city school district's supervisor of community relations and public information, and publisher of the Buckeye Review newspaper.
McNair has twice lost county commissioner races, and tried to run for mayor in 2001. He withdrew from that race after he turned in faulty petitions that would have led to his disqualification.
Trumbull County
Like Mahoning County, Republicans don't have much of a presence in Trumbull County this year. Mahoning and Trumbull are two of the state's most Democratic counties.
Only three Republicans filed nominating petitions in Trumbull -- one for a Warren at-large council seat, one for the city's 3rd Ward council position, and the third for Niles 3rd Ward councilman.
There are eight Democrats running for the three at-large council seats in Warren, including the incumbents.
In Niles, Reginald Giancola, a longtime 3rd Ward councilman, filed to seek one of the three at-large council seats in his city. The three Democratic incumbents filed to run for re-election.
In Columbiana, a county with a Democrat-Republican balance, there are eight Republicans running for office. Of those, seven are incumbents.