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Commish race heating up

Published: Fri, December 9, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By David Skolnick (Contact)

On the side

Political buzz: What’s in a nickname? Apparently quite a bit.

Mahoning County commissioner candidates Walter “Buzz” Pishkur and James S. “Woody” Horvath want to use their nicknames on the Democratic primary ballot.

A derivative of a person’s name — such as Bob for Robert or Mike for Michael — is acceptable, but it’s unclear about nicknames that don’t fall into that category. The county board of elections will look into the matter and make a decision.

What about Richard Oz Ouzounian, another Democratic commissioner candidate? About three years ago, he legally changed his name so Oz is his middle name.

Candidacy certification: The Mahoning County Board of Elections will meet at 11 a.m. Wednesday to certify the candidacy of those who filed to run in the March 6 primary. The Trumbull County Board of Elections will meet at 11 a.m. Thursday to do the same.

Open political seats usually draw more interest than positions with incumbents.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the race to succeed Mahoning County Commissioner John McNally IV attracted the most candidates for the March 6 primary.

But the number of candidates seeking the post is among the largest in the Mahoning Valley in several years.

By Wednesday’s filing deadline for the March 6 primary, nine Democrats, a Republican and a Green Party candidate turned in nominating petitions to the board of elections for the position.

There are some candidates in the Democratic field who’ve unsuccessfully run for elected office before and others who are unknown. They are unlikely to do more than cut a few votes.

How will the primary play out?

With a large field, the county Democratic Party’s endorsement will be even more important than usual.

As with nearly every political race, it will likely come down to money and name recognition.

While none of the candidates are household names with voters, some have advantages.

Jerry McNally has a respectable base in Youngstown from his years on city council.

More importantly, he has the same last name as the current officeholder — they’re cousins.

There will be some who will think they’re voting for John when they’re voting for Jerry.

Austintown voters have elected David Ditzler as a township trustee five times.

He’s also a former Mahoning County Democratic Party chairman, but lost a 2004 commissioner race by 17 percentage points to Anthony Traficanti. We’ll see what Ditzler learned from that race.

Struthers Mayor Terry Stocker was re-elected to his second four-year term last month. He also served 18 years on city council in Struthers.

The population in Struthers is less than Austintown and Youngstown. But turnout in Struthers is typically among the strongest in Mahoning County while Youngstown is among the lowest.

Walter Pishkur is among the more recognizable names seeking the Democratic nomination. (If he’s allowed to include his “Buzz” nickname on the ballot, it will help.)

Pishkur received a lot of publicity, good and bad, during his one-plus-year as president and chief executive officer of Forum Health. The same could be said, but to a lesser extent, about his time as president and CEO of Aqua Ohio.

Pishkur said it will take about $125,000 to win the race.

That’s a lot of money; a ridiculous amount, and probably a little more than needed.

But if Pishkur or other candidates can raise at least $100,000, they can run numerous television commercials, send out several mailers to potential voters, and hire the right people to run a strong and smart campaign.

A benefit is if this primary remains on March 6, there are only a few other races of interest in the Mahoning Valley on that ballot.

There is a June primary for U.S. House and presidential candidates. The state Legislature will make a last-ditch attempt next week to consider combining the two primaries into one.

The commissioner candidates should root for two primaries.


1author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

With all due respect David, I do not think that many people know who Walter Pishkur is. If the election were held today - Jerry McNally would win,

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2DavidSkolnick(57 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Pishkur was on the front page of this newspaper - and on local TV - several times just a couple of years ago for Forum Health. That's likely more publicity than all of the other candidates combined.

There's no doubt that Jerry McNally is a top contender.

Most important - the election isn't today

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3partychair(5 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Oz wants to bring his personal financial management skills to running the county. He filed bankruptcy unable to control his own spending...he will be an excellent commish

Buzz wants to revive the plan he and his buddy Ed Flask cooked up years ago to steal te MVSD.

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4Vote_Oz(15 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

partychair is Mark Meszaros

Courtview in Trumbull County reports 47 open cases on Mark Meszaros all tax leins by the State of Ohio. This is public record, anyone can go on the Trumbull County Courtview and check.

Tax leins on Oz, ZERO. Learn how to read Mark and pay your own taxes!

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5author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago


I took a picture of Walter from this paper(that you refrenced)into my local Walgreens and asked the 11 people there: who it was? No one knew him as Pishkur, one said "Jerry Sandusky?" Then I rattled off the names of the contenders and everyone said they would vote for McNally, because he's "...doing a good job in office." So Pishkur is right - $125,000 might get him elected in this congo line.


You will finish last! You can't win a county wide campaign on vindy.com, Looooie Free and show up at candidate forums with some cheap candy.

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6Vote_Oz(15 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Sam Moffie (author50) please tell us what race you have won and why you are a political expert?

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

Walter "Buzz" Pishkur brought` Forum Health to a crash landing . Can you say bankrupt and sold ? . . . .. Vote for Buzz and sink Mahoning County to a new low . . . ..

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8ipaidattention(68 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Stan, the infamous frank bellamy who just posted on his facebook a picture of david skolnick asking if it was jerry mcnally? Mentally incompetent as they come, what hasn't he run for? Shame Betras will sell this race to the highest bidder which will likely be pishkur, when both oz and ditzler are better qualified than he is. I'm supporting ditzler just because he has held office before. I admire those who start out small, and wish oz had won township trustee, just lucky gallitto couldnt even get the sigs to get on the ballot and knew it or there'd be another one to laugh at as I vote!

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9author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Oz will come in last!

He is having a fundraiser...he's charging $15 and it's BYOC

Bring Your Own Corona!

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10ipaidattention(68 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

If Oz tells what he knows about where Betras buried his bodies so to speak, and becomes a man of strong opposition to the status quo in this valley, he'd be a local hero.

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11author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago


Oz comes in Last!

He has nothing on Betras or he would have peddled that months ago to Betras' enemies.

Oz needs to show us the records of his glorious film commission days!

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12Vote_Oz(15 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Anyone that really knows and understands politics pays no attention to those they believe will come in last.

All of these pathetic attacks really mean the go along get along crowd are worried I can win.

I will not represent the insiders or fat cats if elected; I will represent the residents of Mahoning County who are desperate for a fresh voice and new ideas in county government.

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13Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Job creation and bringing industry to Youngstown should be the top priority .

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14ipaidattention(68 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

And how will you do that frank as you sit at home and post ten thousand comments on the vindy? Do you even have a job? because surely no one takes you seriously as a political consultant

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15Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

ipaidattention :

"Do you even have a job?"

This wouldn't be a job offer by chance would it ? You don't come across as a serious type person . . . ..

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16ipaidattention(68 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

I'm a very serious type person frank, it's you who is a joke.

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17Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

ipaidattention :

You being dumb enough to call me frank makes you a joke . . ..

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18ipaidattention(68 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Because I'm smart enough to tell that stan is a appellation for frank bellamy? Guess what Frank (stan) you'll never win a public office. Couldn't even win your own council seat in the ghetto ridden city you claim to be king of because you're a joke. How the hell does anyone have time to post 10 thousand comments on here? And whil eyou're doing nothing to contribute to our society except spreading un-informed, un-educated opinions, I'm out earning a living starting multiple businesses and earning well over 6 figures a year and I grew up poor on the westside, soI wouldn't call anyone dumb who you don't know, whereas you're a joke because you have put yourself out there as a joke. Join 4square, it's the only way you'll ever be mayor of anything.

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19Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

ipaidattention :

When it comes to being uneducated and uninformed you are tops . The six figured income that you mention is in your dreams . Now run along and try to impress someone else . . ..

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