YOUNGSTOWN MAYOR McNair joins race
Another potential independent mayoral candidate remains undecided on joining the race.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- M. Mike McNair, who had vowed never to run as an independent candidate again, said he will file nominating petitions today to run as an independent for Youngstown mayor.
McNair, defeated last year as an independent candidate for Mahoning County commissioner, said he changed his mind and decided to run as an independent because he did not feel welcome in the local Democratic Party and running as a Republican in the city "comes with too much baggage."
"I think I'll fare better as an independent," said McNair, publisher of the Buckeye Review newspaper.
Percy Squire, a Columbus attorney who grew up in Youngstown, is still undecided as to whether he will run for mayor as an independent. Squire and any other potential independent candidates have until 4 p.m. Monday to file nominating petitions to run in the Nov. 6 general election.
Making the decision: It was Squire's potential candidacy that led McNair to decide he wanted to run for mayor.
"When Atty. Squire said he might file, there seemed to be such energy around an alternative candidate," McNair said. "I got a lot of feedback from my last run as commissioner and I got a lot of encouragement from people to seek the office of mayor."
Mayor George M. McKelvey is running in Tuesday's Democratic primary seeking his second four-year term to the position. Donald Connelly, a tow-truck company owner, is a write-in candidate in the primary. There is no Republican opposition.
Squire and McNair said they have a lot of respect for each other and think the other would make a fine mayor if elected.
"In no way does this diminish my view of Mike," Squire said. "Maybe we could form a coalition at some point, but not at this point."
View on candidacy: McNair said he would not encourage Squire to drop out of the race, but said his candidacy "is more realistic than his. It's his decision. I'd prefer to let the people decide."
McNair, who is friendly with McKelvey, says the mayor does "an OK job. I believe I can do a better job."
Squire said he will probably wait until the last minute to decide on his candidacy.
Right now, his top priority is to make sure Judge Robert A. Douglas Jr., a friend and former business partner, is re-elected to the Youngstown Municipal Court bench. Squire had previously said his interest in the job would be significantly less if McKelvey endorsed Judge Douglas; something the mayor said he is not going to do.
Squire said the judge's re-election is the most important issue facing Youngstown and says he is amazed that Judge Douglas has an opponent. Anthony Farris, an assistant city prosecutor, is running for the seat in Tuesday's primary.
When told that even Abraham Lincoln had an opponent when he ran for president, Squire said, "Lincoln's problems paled in comparison to what is confronting the people of Youngstown."