Money fueling sheriff’s race

On the side

Important decision: The Ohio secretary of state is expected to decide in a next two or three weeks whether to appoint Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras to a seat on the county’s board of elections.

The local Democratic Party’s executive committee recommended Betras for the four-year position on Jan. 16. But all appointments must be confirmed by Secretary of State Jon Husted, who decided four months ago that Betras was “not competent” to serve on the board for an unexpired term.

But Betras’ chances to get the appointment greatly improved after meeting with Husted after the secretary of state rejected the chairman’s first attempt for the post.

With several county elections board terms expiring Feb. 29 throughout the state, Husted is expected to announce his decision on all those appointments at the same time. That should occur a week or two before the end of the month.

Also up for consideration is the reappointment of Clarence Smith, the former Mahoning County Republican chairman, to another four-year term.

Jerry Greene, a Democrat running for Mahoning County sheriff, wasted little time raising money for his campaign.

Campaign finance records shows Greene raised $106,720 between Oct. 13 — 10 days after Sheriff Randall Wellington told The Vindicator he wouldn’t seek re-election — and the end of the year.

And there is little doubt that Greene, director of jail services for the sheriff’s office, has and will continue to raise more money leading to the March 6 primary.

His two Democratic opponents, Poland Township Police Chief Brian Goodin and former Youngstown Police Chief Jimmy Hughes, don’t have a prayer of raising anywhere near the amount Greene has already collected.

Finance reports for 2011 show Goodin raised only $1,700. Hughes received no contributions last year, and loaned $18,500 to his campaign.

Money is a huge factor in elections, and Greene’s ability to raise so much so fast is a bad sign for his opponents.

With money so important in political races, it’s surprising that the six Democratic candidates seeking to replace county Commissioner John McNally IV have received little to no campaign contributions.

Austintown Trustee David Ditzler received one campaign contribution, $250 from fellow Austintown Trustee Lisa Oles, and loaned $500 to his campaign in 2011.

Like Greene, Ditzler received the county Democratic Party’s endorsement during a Jan. 7 vote. That and other endorsements will help Ditzler raise money.

The campaign reports recently filed only showed money raised and spent through Dec. 31.

I’m sure Ditzler has raised and will raise more money since receiving the party’s endorsement. But he should have been on top of this when he started his campaign in mid-November.

Domenic DelMonte raised $2,781 from contributors in 2011. That’s the most among the Democratic commissioner candidates. To put that into perspective, Greene received $5,000 from a single donor: Craig N. Tareshawty of Canfield.

Walter Pishkur, a commissioner candidate, received no contributions in 2011.

But Pishkur loaned $50,000 to his campaign in 2011, and has said he expects to spend at least $100,000.

Patrick T. Ginnetti, a Democrat running for county engineer, received $41,117 in contributions during the final six months of 2011.

Incumbent Engineer Richard Marsico, also a Democrat, raised $24,725 last year with only $9,450 coming in the second half of 2011.

Marsico got out of the race shortly after Ginnetti received the local Democratic Party endorsement last month.

With Ginnetti’s momentum in raising money, and receiving support and endorsements, Marsico decided it was better to get out of the race rather than go out on a losing note.

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