City residents also supported the incumbent council president and mayor.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Anthony J. Farris said his campaign against Judge Robert A. Douglas Jr. of Youngstown Municipal Court apparently didn't light a fire under people.
"I believe the issues I ran on were important to Youngstown, and I still believe that, but it didn't translate into votes," Farris said.
Farris was easily defeated by Judge Douglas in Tuesday's Democratic primary.
"I think this was a clear vote as to what the people wanted," Judge Douglas said. "They were able to sort through the issues and look at me and my opponent a little closer."
One issue: The judge said Farris, an assistant city prosecutor, was a one-issue candidate. Farris criticized Judge Douglas for allowing people charged with violent crimes in certain instances to post bonds the challenger said were too low.
But Judge Douglas said voters saw beyond that issue and realized his years of experience in the community, including the past four as judge, made him the better candidate.
Farris, who is white, had said supporters of Judge Douglas, who is black, had turned the primary into a racial issue. But Judge Douglas said his 14 percent margin of victory showed that he attracted support from voters of all colors.
"I didn't buy into the race thing," Judge Douglas said. "I enjoy a lot of support throughout the city. A lot of people know my reputation."
Judge Douglas will face the challenges of Jeff Limbian, a former city prosecutor and law director, and Robert E. Bush Jr., the city's law director, in the Nov. 6 general election if the Mahoning County Board of Elections approves their nominating petitions. Both filed as independent candidates. There is no Republican opposition.
Council president: Also posting a strong victory in Tuesday's primary was council President Charles Sammarone, who defeated Patrick E. Lowry.
"It's always nice to win," said Sammarone, council president since 1990. "My opponent worked hard, and I'm glad the people have confidence in me as president of council."
Sammarone, who has no opposition in the November general election, will serve his final four-year term as council president beginning in 2002. He will not be permitted to seek another term after that under the city's term limits law.
Mayoral race: Mayor George M. McKelvey received 98 percent of the vote Tuesday in his re-election bid. Donald Connelly, running as a write-in candidate, got the other 2 percent of the vote.
M. Mike McNair and Percy Squire have filed nominating petitions to run as independent candidates against McKelvey in the Nov. 6 election. Their nominating petitions are subject to certification by the board of elections, which will make a decision next month on all independent filings.