The attorney said he isn't running in the Democratic primary because he didn't want to 'cut up the race three ways.'
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Jeff Limbian, a former city prosecutor and law director, plans to run as an independent candidate in the Nov. 6 election for the judicial seat held by Robert A. Douglas Jr.
Limbian, of Shawnee Trail, said he is very serious about running for Youngstown Municipal Court judge and will file his nominating petitions Monday with the Mahoning County Board of Elections.
Judge Douglas is facing Anthony J. Farris, an assistant city prosecutor, in Tuesday's Democratic primary. The winner would face Limbian and any other candidates who file as independents by Monday's deadline. There is no Republican opposition.
Limbian said he wanted to run in the primary, but when Farris filed, he opted to wait.
The reason: "I didn't want to do anything politically foolish by cutting up the race three ways," Limbian said.
Some of Judge Douglas' supporters say race was a factor in the decision of Farris, who is white, to challenge a black judge in the primary instead of seeking the seat of Judge Elizabeth A. Kobly, who is white. Limbian, who is also white, said he expects to hear the same criticism.
"I don't understand how racism becomes a part of running for municipal court," he said. "But I'm expecting the criticism because it's the nature of politics in Youngstown."
Limbian, 41, said Judge Kobly is doing an excellent job. He did not say the same for Judge Douglas.
"I think I stand a better chance of running against someone who hasn't demonstrated the administrative ability for the position," he said of Judge Douglas.
"He's had several years to try and turn that place around and I don't think it's happened yet."
Limbian said his year as the city law director, his two years as city prosecutor and three years as assistant city prosecutor show he has the experience to do the job. He has also been in private practice for 11 years.
"I have far greater and more diverse experience than Judge Douglas," he said. "This is always something I've wanted to try to do and I think I'll do a good job."
Limbian also had little praise for Farris, whom he said is "a bit narrow in his scope" by his complaints about Judge Douglas' decision on determining bonds in certain cases that Farris deems low.
"It's beneficial to be a well-rounded lawyer and his dogmatic approach as a prosecutor who's concerned solely about bonds is not healthy for the bench," he said.