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Hanni sets his sights on Democratic Party’s top spot



Published: Fri, March 5, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

By David Skolnick (Contact)


On the side...

Endorsement meeting: The Mahoning County Democratic Party will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at Mr. Anthony’s in Boardman to endorse a full slate of candidates for the first time in about 20 years. Well, a full slate for the May primary except for one — possibly.

Party leaders won’t propose an endorsement in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate between Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. But if there is enough support from the floor to endorse in that race, the party will have to take a vote.

Endorsement session: The North County Democrats Club, a local political organization, will also endorse candidates at its next meeting, 7:30 p.m. Monday at Lowellville village hall. Each candidate within the club’s jurisdiction — Mahoning County commissioner and auditor, 60th Ohio House District and 33rd Ohio Senate District — can speak for two minutes.

By David Skolnick

Mark Hanni enjoys being coy, but it’s easy to see right through him.

Hanni, and his supporters, have recruited a number of people to run for Mahoning County Democratic Party precinct committee seats.

There are 287 positions. To win the party’s chairmanship, a person needs the commitment of 144 committee members. The committee seats are up for grabs in the May 4 primary.

How many have Hanni and his supporters signed up?

“A substantial number” is all Hanni would say.

Those at the county board of elections say the number is about 155 candidates in about 130 precincts. [Hanni has more than one candidate in some races.] Of those precincts, about 30 Hanni candidates are uncontested. Hanni probably has the support of about 10 to 20 current precinct committee members who will be re-elected.

In comparison, Mahoning Democratic Chairman David Betras has candidates in about 280 precincts.

To say Hanni has a remote chance of getting a majority of precinct committee members is an overstatement.

But that’s not his goal.

Patronage

Hanni won’t say so, but he wants to have some control on selecting replacements if county elected positions become vacant, be able to give out political patronage jobs, and to be a player in county politics.

“He doesn’t care about anything but getting political power for himself,” Betras said of Hanni. “I’ve united this party. He’s trying to rip it apart. I’m going to fight him tooth and nail for this position and to keep the party moving forward.”

Hanni told me he doesn’t plan to run for chairman even though Betras said Hanni has told others that he is seeking the spot.

“They shouldn’t view me as a threat,” Hanni said of the current party leaders.

For Hanni to say he’s not running for chairman is “dishonest,” Betras said.

Hanni tried in 2002 to take over the Mahoning County Republican Party, an effort that failed miserably. Hanni planned to run for chairman and recruited a number of Republican precinct committee candidates.

The problems were Hanni’s candidates didn’t fare well in their elections and the Republican establishment outsmarted him.

Just before the primary, the party changed its bylaws requiring a chairman candidate to be a registered Republican for at least two years right before running for the seat. Hanni failed to meet that requirement.

Hanni admitted he wanted to be Republican chairman to get back at that political party. Hanni said Republican leaders helped bankroll the Democrats for Change movement that took control of the Mahoning Democratic Party from his father, the late Don L. Hanni Jr., in the early 1990s.

“I was going to give them a taste of their own medicine,” Mark Hanni said.

Betras said Hanni “ran against the Republicans to stick it in their eye. I’m not playing this for sport. I’m doing this for the community.”

If Hanni wanted to drive Betras even crazier than he already is, he’s succeeded. But that’s not too difficult.

If Hanni is trying to do something else — or cut a deal to get his candidates out of the race — he faces yet another uphill battle.


Comments

1JAB(41 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Whats going to happen when Betras friend, Leo Jennings turns on him to cover his own butt and to avoid jail time. You know its comming. Jennings will turn on anyone to protect himself. He's going to lie all the way to prison.

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2Dem4Life(6 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

"Hanni admitted he wanted to be Republican chairman to get back at that political party. Hanni said Republican leaders helped bankroll the Democrats for Change movement that took control of the Mahoning Democratic Party from his father, the late Don L. Hanni Jr., in the early 1990s."
This should send a message to all Precinct Committee members that Mark Hanni is only concerned about himself and really does not care about the party. David Betras on the other hand lives for the party. Easy vote.

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3Nunya(1356 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Oh Brother,..

Where it's quiet clear Betras has certainly done himself or public image any favors being aligned with a pack of their action reflective conduct, connections and court documented criminals.

I say the valleys democratic party leadership is due for a change. But I don't get the feeling Don Hanni Jr. is in anyway the individual for the job.

Because where my folks had a long and workable accord with the now deceased Mr. Don Hanni Sr.

I'm hearing his son is in no way even remotely near the man his father was.

Which I hear that in mass volume that he's seen as a undesirable to such a degree. That anything he has dealings with should likely be avoided at all costs.

Personally I've never had any dealings with Mr. Hanni's son. But it's extremely compelling that those I do know and respect their values, character and opinions whom have.

Quiet resoundingly makes it emphatically non partisan clear that Don Hanni Jr. is certainly not anybody they like, trust, respect, support or would align with in any manner.

So where may the senior Mr. Hanni Sr. rest in peace and in my opinion. With that also respect be given that by no means should his son be neither mistaken for nor in anyway held against Mr. Hanni Sr.

Where any individual that seeks to change parties due to having a personal axe to grind like it's being reported Hanni Jr has.

By in no means shows the diligence nor integrity to maintain the focus, values, integrity or leadership.

That's required to have anything positive to do with neither supplying forthright leadership. Nor be any asset to unite with on mission accord even as a constituent.

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4BillyBob(92 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

@ Nunya:
Don Hanni Jr is deceased- he is not running for office. How can you give your friend's views about someone who passed a few years ago if you don't know who you are speaking about? Don SR passed away 20+ years ago. Don JR also had many children.
Mark Hanni is the one running for office.
As for this article, I get the feeling people don't know teh REAL Betras.

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5BillyBob(92 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

@psyker99
How appropiate of you to group the entire family together. I'm sure if there is someone in your family who has poor qualities you must have them also. I have always found it funny how quick people are to judge a family because of 1 or even a few of the family members.

There are many members of the Hanni family that are great people who would do anything for anyone. Despite the bad apples, there are some that are the opposite of how you are catergorizing them all.

What a simple-minded quote:
"They are the borg and always have the same goals, grabbing control of government resources to profit themselves and their followers".
You are so quick to pass judgement on the ENTIRE family - your ENTIRE family must be extremley judgemental just like you.

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6ATown(8 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

It's not the Hanni Family any more to worrie about it's the D'Apolito Family. They are the ones trying to get every one of their family members into the tax payers pocket.......How many are there in government positions? Just say NO to all Hanni's and D'Apolito's on all ballots!!

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7Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

The biggest player of the political arena in The Valley is the Cafaro Corporation . They swing the weight and have the money to do so . They have refined their techniques to avoid any more legal problems .

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