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The polls are open for today’s primary election

Many independents beat deadline to be placed on November ballot

By David Skolnick

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

By David Skolnick

and Ed Runyan


It may not seem so, but there’s an election today.

The polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. for today’s primary.

Turnout in the Mahoning Valley is expected to be light, as it often is during odd-year primaries. Also, about one-third of eligible voters in Mahoning County and about two-thirds in Trumbull County can cast ballots today.

Turnout is expected to be no more than 25 percent in Mahoning and between 15 percent and 20 percent in Trumbull.

Monday was the deadline for independent candidates to file in partisan races for seats such as city council and mayor. The petitions need to be certified by county boards of elections before candidates can get on the November general election ballot.

Those running in nonpartisan races, such as for school board or township trustee, in the November election have until Aug. 5 to file.

In Youngstown, independent candidates filed in the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th and 7th Wards. There was one candidate each in the 1st, 2nd and 5th. Three filed in the 6th and two in the 7th.

There are Democratic primaries today in each of the city’s seven wards. Only the Democratic primary winners today in the 3rd and 4th Wards have a clear path to victory after the primary.

The winner of today’s Democratic primary for Struthers mayor will have challengers in the general election.

John P. Sveda, a former councilman and safety-service director, filed as an independent in January.

Two other independents filed Monday.

Richard Sheeler, one of the mayoral candidates, is not only running for office for the first time, he just registered to vote Friday.

Sheeler couldn’t remember the last time he was registered to vote.

“I don’t even know; it’s been a long time,” he said. “I haven’t been happy with any of the presidential candidates for a long time.”

Sheeler needs 25 valid signatures.

Sheeler got 34 of the 38 signatures on his nominating petitions before he registered to vote. But that doesn’t preclude him from running for mayor, according to Joshua Eck, spokesman for the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office.

Eck said, however, that the county board of elections and county prosecutor are overseeing the election and would make the decision on the candidate’s eligibility.

Also filing for Struthers mayor is Richard DeLuca, a retired Struthers water-pollution-control manager and superintendent of Campbell’s wastewater treatment plant. DeLuca received less than 30 percent of the vote in the 2013 general election for Struthers’ 1st Ward race.

In Sunday’s Vindicator, DeLuca wrote a letter to the editor criticizing the two Democratic candidates and Sveda. He wrote that he might run as a write-in candidate. Instead, DeLuca filed as an independent.

In Warren, Jeff Goodman, an attorney, filed nominating petitions to run as an independent and oppose longtime Warren Law Director Greg Hicks in November.

Goodman has served as defense attorney in a number of high-profile criminal cases over the years and also served as legal adviser to the Trumbull County Democratic Party when it was involved in conflict with the Ohio Democratic Party last year.

Hicks, a Democrat, has been law director more than 23 years.

Also filing as an independent is Dennis Blank, who hopes to oppose Warren Mayor Doug Franklin, a Democrat elected mayor three years ago.

Blank, a retired Time-Life executive, is a community activist best known for his work to restore the area just north of downtown Warren he dubbed the Garden District.

John Robertson, meanwhile, has filed nominating petitions to oppose Warren Council President Jim Graham, a Democrat. Robertson had filed nominating petitions to run against Graham in the Democratic primary but later withdrew his candidacy.

Three people have filed to run as independents for Lordstown mayor against incumbent Republican Arno Hill. They are Karen J. Jones, Jackie Woodward and Stanley J. Zoldan.