Former Youngstown City Councilman Jerry McNally dropped out of the Democratic Party race for Mahoning County commissioner and endorsed longtime Austintown Township Trustee David Ditzler.
McNally is the second candidate to withdraw since the party’s central and executive committees endorsed Ditzler. McNally announced his decision at a press conference Monday at the party headquarters.
Previously, Struthers Mayor Terry Stocker, who came in second in the endorsement process, withdrew from the race to fill the seat of Mahoning County Commissioner John McNally IV, who is not seeking re-election.
Jerry McNally said he got involved in the race because he liked the way Mahoning County was moving over the last year and wanted to keep it going after learning that his cousin, John McNally, decided to not seek re-election.
Jerry McNally said he dropped out for “party unity” and to “not muddy the waters.”
Jerry McNally said he thought he would have had a good chance of winning but questioned if he wanted to make the effort to raise the money needed in the short time before the March 6 primary.
However, he said the party made the right choice in what he described as the “most fair endorsement process” he had ever been involved in. He pledged to “work hard for Ditzler. He deserves the endorsement.”
McNally IV also threw his support behind Ditzler.
“It means a lot to me to have the support of John and Jerry McNally. This is true Democrats coming together,” Ditzler said.
Ditzler said his experience in government and business will bring the best of both of those worlds to the commissioners’ office.
A five-time Austintown Township trustee, he was a member of United Steelworkers of America Local 1418 at Youngstown Sheet and Tube/Jones and Laughlin Steel and then employed by Thomas Steel Strip Corp. from 1983 through 2005 as sales manager. Since 2006, he has been global manager of sales for the American Nickeloid Corp.
In other Democratic Party action Monday, the executive committee recommended to the Ohio secretary of state that Atty. David Betras, party chairman, be seated on the Mahoning County Board of Elections.
Betras was rejected three months ago for a seat on the county board of elections by Secretary of State Jon Husted, who said Betras was not qualified because of “wrongful conduct” as treasurer for ex-Attorney General Marc Dann’s transition account in late 2006.
At the time, Betras said he met with Husted on Oct. 7 in an unsuccessful attempt to change Husted’s mind. However, Betras said the meeting was productive and that he “provided irrefutable proof that I did nothing wrong.”
When asked Monday if he thought Husted would look more favorably on his candidacy this time, Betras refused to comment except to say he believes the county party chairman should sit on the board of elections.
“We’ll send the recommendation of the executive committee to the secretary of state and see what happens,” Betras said.