Groat asked Pritchard to run for trustee while trustee David Ditzler said he has no plans to run for commissioner.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
AUSTINTOWN -- Jeff Groat has announced he won't seek re-election this fall as a township trustee so that he can concentrate on running for Mahoning County commissioner.
Groat, whose four-year term as a trustee will end in December, will seek to replace fellow Democrat David Ludt as a commissioner.
Ludt's four-year term will expire at the end of 2002. He has not said if he plans to run for re-election.
"One thing I can promise Mr. Ludt, he's in one hell of a fight this May," Groat said after making his announcement at a trustees' meeting Monday night.
During the meeting, Trustee Bo Pritchard also announced that he will run for Groat's seat on the board of trustees. Pritchard was appointed by Groat and Trustee David Ditzler in February to temporarily fill the seat formerly held by Ken Carano.
Carano, a Democrat, resigned as a trustee to serve as a state representative. Pritchard, a Republican, will continue as Carano's replacement until the end of this year.
An election in November will determine who should serve the remaining two years of Carano's term.
Background: Groat had never held public office until he was elected as a trustee in 1997. He said he decided to run for commissioner because he feels his background as a businessman would benefit the people of the county.
"I have a lot to offer to this position, and I will concentrate on taking advantage of our infrastructure and work force and bring more private-sector jobs to our county," he said.
Groat, 35, works as a sales engineer for Roth Bros. Inc., in Youngstown. He noted that he asked Pritchard to run for his seat on the board of trustees.
Pritchard had been rumored to be a possible candidate for Mahoning County judge. On Monday, however, Pritchard said that if he is elected to Groat's seat, he will serve a full four-year term.
Will seek re-election: Ditzler, meanwhile, had been rumored to be a possible candidate for Ludt's seat. But on Monday, Ditzler said that he had no plans to run for commissioner and that he would seek re-election as a trustee.
"I don't need to make anybody happy except the residents of Austintown Township, and that's hopefully where I'll be next year," he said.
Ditzler, who also serves as the chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party, said that although he supported Pritchard's right to run for Groat's seat, he has not endorsed a replacement for Groat.
Ditzler and Groat were criticized by other members of the party for appointing the Republican Pritchard to replace Carano, a Democrat.