No-party hopefuls file for Nov. race

By David Skolnick

Two incumbent Warren councilmen filed as independents.

YOUNGSTOWN — If Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams wins today’s Democratic primary, he’ll have to defeat an independent candidate in the Nov. 3 general election to capture another four-year term.

The winner of the Democratic primary between Williams and Frank Bellamy will face Cecil B. Monroe of Highlawn Avenue in the city’s 4th Ward, who filed by Monday’s deadline to be a mayoral candidate.

Monroe needs 25 valid signatures on nominating petitions to be a candidate, officials of Mahoning County Board of Elections said.

That’s apparently easier said than done for Monroe.

He needed only 25 signatures when he filed in 2007 to be an independent candidate for the 4th-Ward council seat.

His petitions in 2007 had 27 signatures. The board determined only 24 were valid and disqualified him as a candidate.

This time Monroe apparently learned his lesson.

The petitions he filed Monday had 72 signatures on them.

Joe Louis Teague, who’s failed in recent bids for Youngstown mayor and U.S. Congress, filed petitions to run for Youngstown council president.

Incumbent Charles Sammarone is unopposed in today’s Democratic primary and would face Teague in the general election if the challenger’s petitions are certified by the elections board.

Republicans have no candidates in any races in Mahoning County.

For several years, nearly all candidates in the village of Poland ran as independents even though the option to run as a party partisan exists. The tradition continues this year.

The four incumbent village council members are seeking re-election with only David C. Raspanti of Pamela Court filing petitions to challenge them.

The incumbents in Poland are Robert Limmer, Bill Dunnavant, Marc A. Cossette and Joseph N. Mazur.

In Warren, two incumbent city council members will be running as independents: At-large Councilman Dan Crouse and 6th-Ward Councilman James “Doc” Pugh.

Crouse will be running as an independent for a second time after winning his current position as an independent in 2007.

Crouse will face opposition in November from fellow incumbent Democrats Helen Rucker and Bob Dean and Democrats Bill Kruppa and Dan Sferra. Sferra is a former Warren mayor, council member and state representative.

Pugh was forced to run as an independent for the 6th Ward after the Trumbull County Board of Elections ruled he did not have enough valid signatures on petitions to run as a Democrat in today’s primary.

Pugh faces opposition in November from fellow independent Cheryl A. Saffold and write-in candidate Rhonda Bennett.