By David Skolnick
For the first time in at least 28 years, there are competitive Democratic primaries for all seven seats on Youngstown City Council.
In all, 23 Democratic candidates filed by Wednesday’s deadline to get on the May primary ballot.
No Republicans filed.
A review of The Vindicator archives show some years — 1991, 1995, 1999 and 2003 — with six council seats up for grabs in Democratic primaries, and five seats on the primary ballot in 1987 and 2007. The last primary year for Youngstown council, 2011, had only two competitive races.
And a lot of familiar names filed to get on the ballot.
That includes Mike Write in the 1st Ward, who lost the Democratic primary for that post in 2007; George Doward, who lost the 4th Ward primary in 2011; and Christopher N. Travers in the 7th, who lost the 2013 council president race as an independent.
The 5th Ward has a number of former candidates: Kevin E.J. Salata and Michael R. Rapovy who lost the Democratic primary four years ago though the latter spent eight years on council; Cynthia L. McWilson, who lost to Rapovy in the 1999 and 2003 Democratic primary as well as finishing last in the 2014 primary for the 58th Ohio House District race; Jeff Limbian, who’s lost three judicial races; and Michael Santisi, who withdrew as a candidate in 2007 for the ward seat.
The only political newcomer in the 5th has a very familiar last name. Lauren McNally, the daughter-in-law of former Councilman Jerome McNally and a distant cousin of Mayor John A. McNally’s by marriage, is also running for the seat her father-in-law once had.
“It’s a pretty crowded field,” she said. “I’m young and the rest aren’t. All have run or filed to run before. They’re on their way out. I’m coming in.”
Councilman Paul Drennen, D-5th, can’t run for re-election because of the city’s term-limits law.
There are four candidates in the 7th Ward, where Councilman John R. Swierz, a Democrat, also can’t run this year because of term limits.
In addition to Travers, 7th Ward Democratic candidates are Holly Lynn Hanni, John Vivo and Basia Adamczak.
There are three candidates running for the open 6th Ward seat as the incumbent, Janet Tarpley, a Democrat, can’t seek another term.
Filing petitions to replace her are Anita Davis, Dario Hunter and Christine Silvestri.
The other open council seat is the 1st Ward, held by Annie Gillam, a Democrat, who is term limited. Besides Write, Julius T. Oliver and Jose A. Rivera are running.
Council’s three incumbents seeking re-election are facing challengers.
Councilman T.J. Rodgers, D-2nd, will face James E. Smith III and Doris J. Wright in the primary.
In the 3rd Ward, Councilman Nate Pinkard, a Democrat, faces Rick Alli in the primary; and Councilman Mike Ray, D-4th, is being challenged again by Doward. In the 2011 primary, Doward got 4.1 percent of the vote.
The open mayoral seat in Struthers has two Democratic candidates — Ronald A. Carcelli and Danny Thomas Jr. Incumbent Mayor Terry Stocker chose not to seek re-election.
In Trumbull County, two incumbent Democratic mayors will face primary challengers.
Warren Mayor Doug Franklin will meet Ian L. Folmar Sr. in the May primary, while Niles Mayor Ralph Infante is being challenged by Thomas A. Scarnecchia.
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