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Youngstown mayoral race suddenly gets exciting

Published: Fri, December 14, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By David Skolnick (Contact)

On the side

GOP fund raiser: U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-3rd, who represents Mercer County and nearly all of Lawrence County, is among only three co-chairs of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual fundraiser dinner. The dinner, held annually in March, is the House Republicans’ largest fundraiser, bringing in $12 million last year.

Kelly of Butler, Pa., was re-elected last month to his second two-year term.

Votes for Obama: Ohio’s Electoral College will meet at noon Monday at the Statehouse’s Senate Chamber in Columbus to cast Ohio’s electoral votes for President Barack Obama. Each congressional district has a representative.

Youngstown Clerk of Courts Sarah Brown-Clark is the 13th Congressional District’s Electoral College member. The 4th District member is Bill Young of Sandusky County. He is a former Youngstown resident who graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School and YSU.

Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone’s statement that he is “reconsidering” a run for his position is a game-changer in what will be the most interesting political race in 2013 in the Mahoning Valley.

Sammarone, appointed to the job in August 2011, has repeatedly said — even before becoming mayor — he was “99-percent” sure he wouldn’t seek election in 2013.

But largely positive reviews from residents, including those who’ve asked him to run, led Sammarone to rethink his position.

People want me “to finish what I started with accountability in government,” he said.

I also think Sammarone has grown to like most aspects of being mayor.

(I’ve already heard from some city employees who are/were counting down the days until Sammarone, who can be demanding, was done as mayor. There are others in city hall who are excited about a Sammarone candidacy.)

A decision will come shortly after the first of the year.

Also, Sammarone said if elected, he may not complete a full four-year term.

A Sammarone candidacy significantly changes the mayoral race.

Council President Jamael Tito Brown, who has been planning a mayoral run for over a year, sounded deflated when we first discussed Sammarone’s announcement.

Brown is still going to run in the May 7 Democratic primary, but said he wouldn’t have been a candidate if Sammarone had told him earlier that he is reconsidering.

Brown referred to Sammarone as a “mentor,” and said he’s “learned how to manage” watching the mayor.

Outgoing Mahoning County Commissioner John McNally IV, who’s told me a year ago he wanted to run for mayor, and Matthew Smith, who failed to get on the ballot for mayor in 1987 because of a lack of valid signatures on his nominating petitions, have filed for the Democratic primary.

Feb. 6 is the deadline to file for the primary.

There will likely be other candidates in the Democratic primary, but I don’t expect any of them to be the caliber of Brown, McNally and Sammarone, should the latter opt to run.

Of course, I’ve been wrong plenty of times.

Just knowing Sammarone is giving this serious thought will overshadow everything else in the campaign until he makes a decision.

A Republican candidate doesn’t have a shot at being mayor of Youngstown, one of the state’s most Democratic cities.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, don’t rule out an independent giving the Democratic nominee a legitimate challenge.

If Sammarone chooses to seek election as mayor, one thing to watch is: will he campaign?

Though he’s been very successful in elections, Sammarone has told me in past elections that he doesn’t go door-to-door or to candidate forums.

He’s said that most voters in the city know him and they either like him or they don’t, and campaigning isn’t going to change their minds.


1author50(1121 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Is Phill Kidd going to play Jay Williams and run as an Independent no matter who emerges as the democrat?

Is Sammarone playing coy. because he has to make sure that his son's place Dooley's gets another round of city stimulus money to keep it's doors open?

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2mishmash(333 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I am having a difficult time keeping score of all the Mahoning County individuals that are either double dipping or utilizing the old "retire & then, rehire or re-elect me" theories.

The Vindicator should keep a column to the right of the page, so that we can all keep tabs on the Public Recycling program.

The longstanding KING of the RETIRE, then RE-ELECT ME is finally going away, the end of 16 years of DICK MARSICO, always under the radar.

Sammarone is doing a good job of holding up the rear with his FULL TEACHER PACKAGE, plus the $100k as the appointed Mayor.

Young TiTO has learned the game well, as he DRINKS from TWO TROUGHS, County Treasurer Office & City Council, time for him to make the move into the realms of the SIX FIGURE PUBLIC club.

Many others have mastered the game, BUT, the MASTER is once again going to re-appear in AUSINTOWN.

2013 could be the Year of the Card Shuffling.

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3CongressWatcher(225 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I hope Sammarone runs. He has been a very good mayor thus far.

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4peggygurney(408 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

If Mayor Sammarone decides not to run, then don't rule out Phil Kidd joining the race as an Independent.

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5penguin56(1 comment)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I have known Jamael Tito Brown ,and his mother Bernice for many many years. You will not find a more outstanding family. Tito has brought himself up from very humble beginnings to this point in his life. I assure you he will do everything in his power to make Youngstown a better place to live,and work.Just a fine young man ,father,and son. Best of luck Tito. Thomas Ben McIntyre

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6johnsyoung(3 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

It's all a sham. Typical ytown politics. Im sure the deals are being made as we speak....

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7Askmeificare(1229 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Sammarone vs. Phil Kidd.

Now that would be exciting!

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