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Traficant allies to appeal disqualification

Published: Wed, July 7, 2010 @ 12:05 a.m.




Supporters of Jim Traficant said they don’t accept a ruling Tuesday that the ex-congressman lacked enough valid petition signatures to run for his old seat in November and have vowed to file an appeal.

“It’s not over,” said a visibly angry Linda Kovachik of Boardman, Traficant’s campaign coordinator, after the Trumbull County Board of Elections ruling eliminated him from competing on the ballot for the seat now held by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles. Supporters vowed to review every disqualified signature in advance of an appeal.

“Mr. Traficant needed 2,199 signatures, but only 2,092 were valid, so he is 107 signatures short of the required amount,” said Kelly Pallante, board of elections director, during a board meeting Tuesday. Pallante advised Kovachik that any appeal should be filed in writing “as soon as possible.”

Board officials said a number of signatures were thrown out because the addresses are outside the 17th Congressional District. She said others were disqualified because their addresses did not match those in board of elections records. Officials speculated that some of those residents may have moved within the district but failed to update their addresses with the board.

Traficant submitted petitions with 3,138 signatures from the district’s four counties—Trumbull, Mahoning, Portage and Summit—for his bid for an independent run but boards of election in each county found many to be invalid.

Pallante said of 1,931 names on the Trumbull petitions, 489 signatures were invalid. In Mahoning County, 471 signatures out of 1,074 were disqualified, while in Portage and Summit counties, 86 signatures were ruled invalid out of 133 names on the petitions in the two counties.

The total number of disqualified signatures in the four counties was 1,046 or 33 percent of all the names turned in by the Traficant campaign.

Traficant, who lives in the 6th District in Poland, did not attend the board meeting and could not be reached to comment.

“We heard he would not get on the ballot ... and now I can see that what was said was done,” Kovachik said. Asked after the meeting if she was alleging a conspiracy, Kovachik said she was not.

“Nothing was done underhanded,” responded Christ Michelakis, Trumbull elections chairman.

However Rick Berger of Boardman, another Traficant supporter who is a Democratic precinct committeeman, pointed the finger at Mahoning Democratic Chairman David Betras, whom he alleged was behind the effort to keep Traficant off the ballot.

“[Betras] hates Traficant , and he hates me,” said Berger, wearing a Traficant jersey.

“His accusations are ridiculous, slanderous and laughable,” Betras responded.

The party chairman denied having conversations with anyone on the Mahoning County Board of Elections about Traficant’s campaign until he found out the ex-congressman did not appear to have accumulated enough signatures to get on the ballot.

Meanwhile, the man who succeeded Traficant as 17th District congressman said Tuesday’s ruling will not impact how he runs his re-election campaign.

“We’ve done a good job of staying focused regardless of the sideshows going on,” Ryan said.

Traficant served for 17 years in Congress, but was expelled in 2002 after being convicted of bribery, racketeering, filing false income taxes and obstruction of justice. He served more than seven years in federal prison and was released last September.

Even though Traficant has been disqualified from the ballot, he could still run in November as a write-in candidate for Congress because it is a federal office.

Kevin Kidder, a spokesman for the Ohio secretary of state, originally told The Vindicator in a story published Saturday, that an independent candidate cannot run in November if disqualified for not having enough valid signatures.

On Tuesday, Kidder said that state law only prohibits such filings for candidates for state or county office, he said.

“As far as we’re concerned, there’s nothing that would keep someone who filed to run for federal office, as Mr. Traficant did, from filing as a write-in as well,” Kidder said.


11970mach1(1005 comments)posted 6 years ago

Traficant should seek an injunction in fed court on equal protection claim because Dems and GOP candidates need much fewer sigs to get on ballot than IND candidates. It is something along the lines of almost 100 times more signatures IIRC.

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2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 6 years ago

Good - now the Republican Graham can go full bore at the liberal Pelosi following Ryan for his Congressional seat. The 17th district needs to get rid of Ryan. What has Ryan done for his district - Not a thing!!! Just look around at the cities of Warren and Youngstown with unbelievable high unemployment, ruined economies, and high crime rates.

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3Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years ago

The political machine in power in The Valley will make sure that it protects it's interests . It's not about what Traficant can do for the people but what he can do for the political machine . The answer seems to be that Traficant staying out of politics is in their best interest . The Cafaro Political machine has the clout at this time .

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4author50(1121 comments)posted 6 years ago

Please check Rick Berger's petitions for his precinct committeeperson post, because if Betras really had that much clout, Berger wouldn't have made the ballot as a committeeperson in Mahoning County.

Berger should be the Traf's vice-presidential candidate in 2012 when they re-create the 'Know-nothing' Party.

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5boardmanneedschange(364 comments)posted 6 years ago

Taking anyones side in this argument is admitting that you are a miserable failure at extending freedom in America. Politicians, especially career politicians, are all out for themselves and some sort of fame. They are a lying breed, just like lawyers. I am ashamed to call myself an American after reading stories like this. I should be able to run a potato for office as long as I think it will get enough votes. Hell, at this point a potato serves more worth to me than a career politician does......

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6walter_sobchak(2722 comments)posted 6 years ago

This is simple. Some people that signed you petitions were once in your congresional district and previously voted for you. Since you screwed the area, the districts have been redrawn but the brainless that once voted for you don't know what district they are in. I would think that someone of your intelligence would have recognozed that and gone overboard on the quantity of signatures. Now, please, go away!

I really didn't think it was possible to slander an attorney, especially a money-grubbing ambulance chaser like you and your vermin associates.

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7yannicontpunclejuby(49 comments)posted 6 years ago

hey,tim ryan has taken alot from nancy "strap on " pelosi in hopes of bettering the valley-and what about all those gloryhole fund raiser where he was the man"in the barrel" he did for local democrats like joe schovone

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8mrblue(1175 comments)posted 6 years ago

It would have been interesting to see just how much support Mr. Traficant would have had in the election.

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9Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years ago

What time is it in The Valley ? Why it's Cafaro Time . Since JJ lied to cover his assets and Jimbo did the time JJ was at ease with Traficant in prison . Now he can rest once again and stay in control .

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10cambridge(4142 comments)posted 6 years ago

Palin Traficant 2012!

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11peacelover(839 comments)posted 6 years ago

That's a pretty sick sense of humor you have there Cambridge! LOL

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12yannicontpunclejuby(49 comments)posted 6 years ago



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13peacelover(839 comments)posted 6 years ago

Yeah.... check the prison system. They may be there.

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14Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years ago


I did the crime and Jimbo spent the time .

by JJ Cafaro

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15OhioWatcher(43 comments)posted 6 years ago

By a show of grunts: How many of you Gorillas think that the moon landing was fake?

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16Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years ago

OhioWatcher :
"By a show of grunts: How many of you Gorillas think that the moon landing was fake?"

I always thought that a moon landing was your man Barney Frank in action .

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17OhioWatcher(43 comments)posted 6 years ago

The two biggest gorilla's on the vindy message boards answer when they are called by their proper names. I love it.

If I wanted my taxes raised I'd vote for Bob Taft of Bob Gibbs. Since my taxes were lowered this year, I think I'll stick with President Obama.

Oh and if I want my guns taken from me, I'll vote for kasich.

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18redvert(2240 comments)posted 6 years ago

You know why obowser picked Biden for VP over Hillary don't you? He could just send the dork off to talk about FDR and TV or tell the reporters where his safe house was. I love a clown. Hillary would challenge bowser too much.

It is about time for Hillary to resign and start the groundwork for her next run.

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19Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years ago

OhioWatcher :

"Oh and if I want my guns taken from me, I'll vote for kasich."

I thought you libs had the town under control ? Why would you needs guns ? Surely you wouldn't gun down another liberal who had advised you to give him your money and property . For the sake of political correctness, GIVE THEM UP ! Make Barney proud when he comes to town by telling him that you have disarmed .

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20rmzrez(134 comments)posted 6 years ago

How dumb

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