Mahoning County Dems shun unity

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New initiative: As a take-off on the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party movement, Werner Lange, a perennial candidate, is attempting to create a new drink-related initiative.

Lange is holding a COFFEE (Coalition of Freedom Fighters Expanding Everywhere) Party meeting at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Mocha House in Warren.

Lange, who’s planning to run for the Ohio 65th House District seat as an independent, is inviting all “freedom-loving and independent-minded citizens” in the Mahoning Valley to attend to “discuss future plans over a cup of coffee.”

GOP forum: The Grove City College Republicans will sponsor a forum at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Schict Auditorium at Grove City College with the six GOP candidates seeking the party’s nomination in Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional District.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, a Democrat from Erie, is seeking her second two-year term in the House this year.

At the start of the recent Mahoning County Democratic Party meeting to endorse candidates for the primary, Chairman David Betras called for unity.

“We will leave this meeting unified and prepared to do what it takes to help our endorsed candidates win on May 4,” he said. “It means that each and every member of the central committee is, as a matter of principle, obligated to support our endorsed candidates.”

Betras can certainly ask for it, but he’s definitely not going to get it.

The party is divided on the Mahoning County commissioner race between incumbent David Ludt, who is seeking his fourth four-year term, and Youngstown Councilwoman Carol Rimedio-Righetti, his Democratic primary challenger.

The endorsement vote wasn’t close.

Rimedio-Righetti beat Ludt 140 to 62 on a vote by members of the party’s precinct and executive committees.

Ludt supporters won’t abandon him despite the vote.

This is the first time the party endorsed a full slate of candidates since 1992.

If Mahoning Democrats had endorsements during Ludt’s other commissioner campaigns in 1998, 2002 and 2006, it’s doubtful he would have received the party’s support in those races.

Ludt is not a Democratic insider or a favorite of the party’s precinct committee members and never has been.

This doesn’t discount Rimedio-Righetti, who is Ludt’s toughest challenger since his 1998 election.

She’s also received the endorsements of local labor organizations, and understands that endorsements alone won’t decide who wins the Democratic primary.

Ludt will likely outspend Rimedio-Righetti, and he has an experienced and successful campaign committee with a proven track record in place.

The primary outcome in this race will be important for the county Democratic party in terms of its influence over voters.

We’ll find out May 4 if the party’s endorsement means anything.

The same can be said for the Trumbull County Democratic Party.

Trumbull Democrats took a beating in 2002 backing the wrong candidates in two extremely important races for the open 17th Congressional District and Ohio House 65th District seats.

The party chose Democrats insiders that year over Tim Ryan for Congress and Sandra Stabile Harwood for the House seat.

Before 2002, the Trumbull Democratic endorsement was vital to candidates running in the primary.

For this year’s primary, Trumbull Democrats went with Warren Councilman Vincent Flask over two-term incumbent Tom Letson in the Ohio House 64th District race.

The party’s precinct committee members also backed J.D. Williams over three other candidates in the open 65th District race.

Just like their counterparts in Mahoning County, Trumbull Democratic precinct committee members will find out May 4 if their endorsement carries much weight.

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