Gains, Macejko agree to a televised debate

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By David Skolnick


The two Democratic candidates in the hotly contested Mahoning County prosecutor’s primary race will meet Feb. 22 in a televised debate.

The hourlong debate, organized by 21 WFMJ-TV, The Vindicator’s broadcast partner, will air live beginning at 7 p.m. with the event taking place at the station’s downtown studio, said Mona Alexander, the station’s news director.

Youngstown Prosecutor Jay Macejko, the challenger, quickly agreed to the debate.

Incumbent county Prosecutor Paul J. Gains’ campaign was in discussions with WFMJ about the debate, coming to a resolution Saturday, two days before a Monday deadline the station gave to commit to the event, Alexander said.

Alexander said she needed a commitment by Monday to have the time to schedule the debate.

Gains’ campaign had questions about the debate’s format.

Those issues were addressed without any problems, Alexander and Gains said.

The moderator for the debate is 21 news anchor Bob Black. The panelists are Bertram de Souza, editorial-page writer and columnist for The Vindicator, and 21 news reporters Michelle Nicks and Glenn Stevens.

The debate will be broadcast on 21 WFMJ TV and streamed live on

Gains is seeking his fifth four-year term as prosecutor. Macejko, city prosecutor since 2006 and a former assistant county prosecutor under Gains, has the county Democratic Party’s endorsement.

No Republican filed for county prosecutor. The deadline for independents to file is March 5, the day before the primary.

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