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Squire, Bush enter races



Published: Tue, May 8, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A Columbus lawyer will run for mayor, and Youngstown's law director, as well as another attorney, will run for judge.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- There will be three-man races in November for Youngstown mayor and Youngstown Municipal Court judge.

City Law Director Robert E. Bush Jr. filed nominating petitions Monday to run as an independent candidate for the judicial seat held by Robert A. Douglas Jr.

Bush joins Jeff Limbian, a former city law director and city prosecutor, who also filed his petitions Monday as an independent. Monday was the filing deadline.

Judge Douglas is being challenged in today's Democratic primary by Anthony J. Farris, an assistant city prosecutor. The winner would square off against Bush and Limbian in the Nov. 6 general election, so long as the independent challengers' petitions are certified by the Mahoning County Board of Elections.

The board has until July 16 to certify independent candidates' petitions but will probably decide in June, said Michael Sciortino, the board's director.

Bush, law director since 1998 who serves at the discretion of Mayor George M. McKelvey, could not be reached to comment Monday. McKelvey said he had no comment when asked if Bush would be asked to resign because of his candidacy.

Mayor's race: McKelvey, who faces the challenge of write-in candidate Donald Connelly during today's Democratic primary, would also have two opponents in November assuming he defeats the longshot write-in challenger.

Percy Squire, a Columbus attorney who recently changed his voter registration back to Youngstown, filed nominating petitions to run as an independent in the Nov. 6 election.

Squire, a Youngstown native, could not be reached Monday. But he has previously said being Youngstown mayor is secondary to getting Judge Douglas, his friend and former business partner, re-elected to the bench.

Squire had said he would only run if he was convinced that he could beat McKelvey and that his residency would not disqualify him from seeking the post. The city charter says to run for mayor a person has to vote in Youngstown for five years. McKelvey's supporters have contended that means the five years before the election in which a candidate runs. Squire disagrees with that interpretation.

It is quite possible that the initial decision on Squire's eligibility would come from Bush, who as law director would be asked by the county board of elections to interpret the city charter.

M. Mike McNair, who said he was energized by the positive response Squire received when he was only a potential candidate, filed his petitions to run for mayor as an independent last week.

Scanners: Also, the board of elections was to meet today to authorize payment of $120,000 to Election Systems and Software, an Omaha, Neb., company to provide eight voting scanners for use during today's primary and the Nov. 6 general election.

ES & amp;S rented the scanners to the board last November and board officials said it significantly decreased the time needed to count ballots. ES & amp;S wanted the board to pay $60,000 for the use of the scanners last year. But during negotiations that ended Monday, the company agreed to not charge the board any money for the use because of the new deal that will be approved today, Sciortino said.

skolnick@vindy.com




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