Commissioner wins decisively over ex-mayor
Ludt isn't taking his challenger in the November election lightly.
By DEBORA SHAULIS
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- If Mahoning County Commissioner David N. Ludt had to speculate on the results of Tuesday night's primary, he would have guessed that he'd beat challenger George McKelvey with 60 percent of the vote.
Even Ludt was surprised to learn that, with about 90 percent of the county's precincts reporting around midnight, he was leading with 70 percent of the vote.
That tells him "people read through the commercials," Ludt said, referring to McKelvey's media blitz in recent weeks. Ludt believed McKelvey wrongly took credit for projects that occurred during his term as mayor of Youngstown but actually were the responsibility of county commissioners.
Ludt turned to former state Sen. Harry Meshel to set the record straight in his own commercials.
"We didn't say anything in the ads that wasn't true," Meshel told Ludt's well-wishers, who gathered in his campaign headquarters in Boardman Plaza.
McKelvey didn't return telephone calls Tuesday night.
Ludt said he attended 68 events while he campaigned for the primary and didn't see McKelvey at any of them.
"You have to get in and mix with people. I'm a people person," said Ludt, 66, of Poland, who is seeking his third term.
Ludt also said he doesn't mind being the quiet commissioner and generally leaves the public speaking to his fellow commissioners, Anthony Traficanti and John McNally IV. Asked what his priorities will be as commissioner between now and the general election in November, Ludt said he would confer with the other commissioners before announcing details. Water projects remain among his priorities because they improve the community's value, he said.
So far, Ludt has one challenger in November. Jamael Tito Brown of Youngstown filed nominating petitions Monday to run as an independent candidate. His petitions must be certified before he is officially declared a candidate.
Ludt said he doesn't know Brown and doesn't begrudge his candidacy. "It's America, and everybody can run," he said.
Ludt also wasn't taking Brown for granted, telling his supporters that he'll need them again in the coming months.
"Nobody goes anywhere in politics unless they have people working with them," he said over their cheers.