Two incumbent Democrats say they want to meet the new residents of their districts before November.
By DENISE DICK
and IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITERS
NILES -- Political newcomer Sandra Stabile Harwood believes the people of the Mahoning Valley possess an essential goodness that isn't reflected in press coverage.
"It will be part of my responsibility to see that that's represented and not to disappoint them," said Harwood, 51, who won the Democratic nomination for the 65th House District race Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Democratic voters also endorsed Ken Carano in the 59th District and Sylvester Patton Jr. in the 60th District, while Republicans endorsed Randy Pope in the 61st District. Carano and Patton are incumbents.
Harwood faces Republican James A. Calko Jr. of Lordstown, a Youngstown State University student, in the November general election.
"I'm very shocked," she said, after beating two other candidates for the Democratic nod. "I'm just stunned and thrilled. I've never run for office before."
Anthony A. Latell Jr.'s decision not to seek a second term in Tuesday's primary in favor of a run at the 17th District congressional seat instead left the race without an incumbent candidate.
Beat political veterans
Harwood, an attorney and a Niles resident, won 39 percent of the vote, to beat Joseph J. Melfi, a former Girard mayor, who received 36 percent, and Barry Profato, a former Niles councilman, who tallied 24 percent.
"I was a little surprised, but the people of the 65th District have made their choice and I accept it," Melfi said. "I'm a Democrat and I'll stand behind the Democratic candidate. I wish her the best of luck."
If elected, Harwood, a hearing officer for Trumbull County Child Support Enforcement Agency, says she'll work for prescription drug coverage for seniors and for improved health-care benefits for seniors.
She said she worked hard, walking "every inch of the district" and chalks up her victory to people's wanting a "fresh face and a change."
Harwood hopes to help improve the image of the Mahoning Valley.
Carano's work continues
Carano, meanwhile, said he's going to concentrate on working in the next few weeks on solving the state's budget and school funding problems. He stressed that he feels his responsibilities as a state representative are more important than his campaign for re-election.
Carano, of Austintown, defeated Boardman teen David Sisk and will face Republican Paul Alberty of Poland in November.
"As far as I'm concerned, the first thing is my work in Columbus, because we've got a lot coming up," he said.
Carano also stressed that he is going to "diligently" prepare for the November election by introducing himself to the local residents who were added to his district through redistricting.
Patton, of Youngstown, also said he wants to "meet and greet" the local residents added to his district. He stressed that although he "always runs scared," he was more concerned about the primary than the November election.
"My race is always the primary," Patton said, noting that most of the residents of his district are Democrats. "I'll worry about November when it comes."
Patton defeated Youngstown resident Jerome McNally on Tuesday and will face Republican William Sicafuse of Struthers in November. He said his goal as a legislator is to bring more state and federal money into the Mahoning Valley.
During the primary campaign, Pope, of Alliance, said be believes he can bring a "working class perspective" to the Ohio House. He will face Democratic incumbent state Rep. John Boccieri, of New Middletown, in November.