By DAVID SKOLNICK
The election to lead the Mahoning County Democratic Party is over, but the bitterness still lingers.
But the issue isn’t between Chairman David Betras and Georgiann DeCenzo, whom he handily defeated Wednesday.
It’s between Betras and Ed Aey, who failed in his bid to defeat Kenneth Carano for executive vice chairman.
Aey, of Boardman, devoted much of his nominating speech Wednesday to criticizing Betras for his time in late 2006 as treasurer of Marc Dann’s attorney-general transition account.
Dann and two of his former top officials were found guilty of ethics charges related to illegal expenses from the transition account.
Betras was never charged.
The crowd of Democratic precinct committee members, who voted for the party’s executive offices, booed Aey when he criticized Betras, of Boardman.
“When you run a positive campaign and work to move this party forward, you’re going to win,” Betras said after being re-elected.
“These people rejected the negative campaigning of the Aeys. They’re politically done in this Valley. The politics of personal destruction is over.”
“We’re not over,” Aey said. “I did nothing but tell the truth. I don’t call that negative politics. The Aeys/Ludts aren’t going anywhere.”
Aey’s uncle, David Ludt, a 12-year county commissioner, was defeated in the May Democratic primary by Youngstown Councilwoman Carol Rimedio-Righetti, who was endorsed by the county party.
Despite the nasty weather, turnout at Wednesday’s election at Mr. Anthony’s in Boardman was strong.
There are about 284 precinct committee members.
Betras beat DeCenzo of Boardman 180 to 64.
Carano of Austintown beat Aey 182 to 59.
Incumbent Secretary John Vivo of Youngstown, who ran as a team with Betras and Carano, beat Beth Stanko of Boardman 186 to 55.
Maurina Hanna of Boardman withdrew as a candidate for secretary and publicly supported Stanko.
Before the election, Betras had said he wouldn’t work with DeCenzo because she challenged him.
But after the results, he said, “I’ll do anything to unite the party.”
DeCenzo said she wanted to work with Betras for the betterment of the party.