Six people are running for Warren mayor.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Several familiar faces are attempting political comebacks or seeking new jobs.
Two former mayors, Vincent E. Schuyler in Girard and Arthur U. Magee in Hubbard, are running for the offices they once held.
Magee is challenging Hubbard Mayor George P. Praznik. Schuyler is among four challengers to Girard Mayor James J. Melfi. Other challengers to Melfi are Girard council President Louis J. Adovasio, former council President Joseph N. Krizancic, and Joseph P. Shelby, a carpenter.
Thursday was the filing deadline for candidates seeking to run in the May 6 partisan primary. The primary winners go on to the Nov. 4 general election.
With Warren Mayor Hank Angelo not seeking re-election, six candidates, all with familiar names, filed by Thursday's deadline to replace him. They are Michael J. O'Brien, a Trumbull County commissioner since 1993 and a former city councilman; Frederick Harris, Angelo's safety-service director for the past few years; Patricia K. Leon-Games, the former city treasurer who was defeated in 2001 by John Taylor; Manuel Michelakis, former water department superintendent; and James L. Nutt, a former interim fire chief.
The winner of the five-way Democratic race will face Republican Randy Law in the fall. Law waged an unsuccessful campaign last November to unseat state Rep. Dan Sferra, a former mayor.
In Niles, the decision by longtime council President Fremont Camerino not to seek re-election caused some political maneuvering. Niles Councilman Robert Marino Jr., D-at large, is running unopposed for Camerino's seat. That caused two ward councilmen -- Michael A. Lastic, D-2nd, and Paul Hogan, D-4th -- to file for an at-large seat; there are three to elect. Also filing were two incumbent at-large councilmen, Stephen G. Papalas and Thomas A. Scarnecchia, as well as former mayor John P. Shaffer.
In Youngstown, three incumbent council members -- Artis Gillam Sr., D-1st; Rufus Hudson, D-2nd, and Richard W. Atkinson, R-3rd -- are not being challenged in their party primary and no one from the other political party filed to face them in the general election.
Independent candidates for the general election can file nominating petitions by the May 5 deadline.
Two incumbent councilmen, Michael R. Rapovy, D-5th, and John A. Nittoli, D-7th, will face challenges in the primary, and whoever wins the Democratic primary will face off against a Republican challenger in November.
Republicans making bids
Republicans are fielding candidates for council president as well as in four of the city's seven wards; and there is a write-in candidate for the 4th Ward seat. In 1999, the last council election year, the only Republicans running for seats were Atkinson and a challenger in the 7th Ward.
"We've got a great crop of candidates running in the city," said Mark Munroe, Mahoning Republican Party vice chairman and head of the county's election board. "For the first time in many years, we were able to attract a competent group of people to represent the city of Youngstown. Republicans are so weak in the city that it's often been suggested we abandon the city and concentrate on the suburbs. We won't do that. We're committed to doing what we can to strengthen the city."
Leading the GOP ticket is Atkinson and Tracey S. Monroe-Winbush, a Youngstown school board member, running for council president. Monroe-Winbush will take on the winner of the Democratic primary, which pits council President John R. Swierz against Councilman James Fortune, D-6th, who cannot seek another term as a ward councilman because of the city's term limits law.
Other Republicans running in Warren besides Law include Charles H. Bentz and William B. Maurice, both running for council president resulting in a rare Republican primary in the city, as well as one council at large candidate and a 1st Ward council candidate.
Excluding Warren and Youngstown, only one other Republican is running for office in the two counties: Michele L. Holbert for McDonald village clerk.