MAHONING DEMOCRATS Party to reconsider endorsing candidates

The Democratic committee will meet later this month to make a recommendation.
AUSTINTOWN -- A Mahoning County Democratic Party committee reviewing the organization's bylaws is recommending only precinct committee members be permitted to run for party chairman and other officer positions.
The party's constitution committee voted 11-6 Thursday for that proposal after a public hearing in Austintown Township hall.
The hottest and most controversial charter revision proposal -- reinstating endorsements in primary elections -- was discussed but no recommendation was made by the constitution committee.
The committee will next meet June 28 in Austintown to make a recommendation on the endorsement proposal as well as how the party would determine the amount of the assessment fee to be paid by endorsed candidates.
The committee was to have its final recommendations on charter revisions to the party's precinct committee members by Thursday so the party could have a June meeting to vote on the proposals.
But Kenneth Carano, the constitution committee's chairman, said the endorsement policy is so controversial his group does not want to rush into any decision.
The precinct committee members will probably vote on the recommendations in early July, added Carano of Austintown, a state legislator representing the 65th District.
The party eliminated endorsements in 1994 when Michael Morley led the Democrats for Change movement, ousting longtime party Chairman Don L. Hanni Jr. It was one of Morley's key platforms.
David Ditzler, who succeeded Morley as chairman in 1999, says the party should return to an endorsement policy. Ditzler said the policy is a divisive one for party members. He expects the vote to be close.

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