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Did texting controversy play role in Gains’ win?

Published: Sun, March 11, 2012 @ 12:06 a.m.

macejko lost city vote by 1,287

By David Skolnick



Youngstown Prosecutor Jay Macejko’s close-but-failed Democratic primary bid for Mahoning County prosecutor can be attributed to his inability to win his hometown vote.

Incumbent county Prosecutor Paul J. Gains beat Macejko countywide by 561 votes, a 1.74 percent margin of victory.

In Youngstown, where Macejko lives and has served as city prosecutor since January 2006, he lost by 1,287 votes to Gains.

Among the city’s 77 voting precincts, Gains — who lives in Boardman and is a former Youngstown police officer — won 54 of them compared with 20 for Macejko with three ties, according to an analysis by The Vindicator of raw precinct-by-precinct vote totals of Tuesday’s primary election.

Gains won every precinct in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Wards and won in a large majority of the 5th, 6th and 7th Wards. The 4th, on the city’s West Side, is the only ward that went with Macejko. He won 10 of the ward’s 13 precincts with one tie. In total votes, Macejko beat Gains 803-706 in the 4th.

Why did Macejko fail to win in his hometown?

Because of a racist text message about President Barack Obama, said William Binning, the retired chairman of Youngstown State University’s political science department.

The April 7, 2009, text may have been sent by or to Macejko but has not been authenticated. Macejko denies authoring or sending it.

“I just received my Obama stimulus package. It was 3 pieces of chicken, a pack of kool-aid and a dime bag. Did u get yours?” read a message in a series of texts alleged to have been exchanged between Macejko and Bret Hartup, an assistant city prosecutor.

A list of Hartup’s supposed text messages was given last month to this newspaper by Atty. Scott Cochran, a Gains supporter representing the Islamic Society of Greater Youngstown. The organization is seeking to unseal documents in a settled religious discrimination lawsuit filed against the city by Bassil Ally, an assistant city prosecutor.

“The racial comment allegedly made about Barack resonated to [Macejko’s] disadvantage in Youngstown,” Binning said. “His downfall seemed to be in the African-American wards in the city.”

The 1st, 2nd and 6th Wards are largely black wards with the 3rd leaning black.

“The Obama text message was very damaging to him,” Binning said of Macejko. “He didn’t clear it up or at least to the satisfaction of voters. Black people are very sensitive to [racial] comments.”

The vote from black areas of the city wasn’t in support of Gains but against Macejko, Binning said.

“That text message was fatal,” he said. “We don’t know who sent it or if Macejko saw it. But his argument [that] he didn’t see it is weak.”

The precinct voting data showed Macejko strong in Struthers, winning all 15 of that city’s precincts; Poland Township, winning 15 of the 16 precincts with one ending in a tie; and in eastern portions of the county, sweeping all precincts in Lowellville, New Middletown, Poland village and Coitsville. He also won five of Springfield’s six precincts.

Macejko won 22 of the 40 precincts in Austintown, where he lived before becoming Youngstown prosecutor, and tied Gains in one.

Gains won 29 of the 47 precincts in Boardman, where he lives, and tied in one.

Besides Youngstown and Boardman, Gains was strong in Canfield Township and city, Beaver and in the western part of the county. He swept Ellsworth, Goshen, Jackson, Smith, Sebring, Beloit and Craig Beach.

In the Democratic primary for sheriff, Jerry Greene of Boardman captured 55.61 percent of the county vote against former Youngstown Police Chief Jimmy Hughes and Poland Township Police Chief Brian Goodin.

Greene won 208 of the county’s 273 precincts, winning every precinct in Struthers, Austintown, Canfield Township and city, Beaver, Berlin, Coitsville, Ellsworth, Goshen, Green, Jackson, Milton, Smith, Beloit, Craig Beach, Lowellville, New Middletown, Washingtonville and Sebring.

Greene won all but one of Boardman’s 47 precincts with Goodin winning the other, and five of Springfield’s 6 precincts.

Hughes, with 24.47 of the county vote, won 49 precincts, including every precinct in Youngstown’s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Ward, and all but one of the 6th Ward’s 10 precincts.

Hughes, who is black, and Greene, who is white, split the 14 precincts in the 5th Ward, which is a mixed black-white ward.

Greene won all 13 precincts in the mostly white 4th Ward, and won 10 of the 13 precincts in the 7th Ward, which leans white in population. Hughes won the other three precincts in the 7th.

Hughes won three wards outside of Youngstown — all in neighboring Campbell.

Goodin, with 19.92 percent of the vote, won 15 precincts countywide, including 11 in Poland Township. Greene won four precincts in Poland Township, and Goodin and Greene tied in one precinct in the township.

Incumbent county Commissioner Anthony Traficanti of Poland won all 273 precincts in the county, and 75.81 percent of the vote, easily defeating James S. Horvath of Campbell.

In the other commissioner primary for the seat being vacated by John McNally IV, Austintown Trustee David Ditzler won in 223 precincts and tied in 10 others on his way to winning the Democratic nomination with 50.16 percent of the vote in a six-man race.

Ditzler won 63 of Youngstown’s 77 precincts with three ties.

The only other candidate to win precincts in Youngstown was Joe Louis Teague, who won 11 of them with two ties. Teague, of Youngstown, finished third receiving 6.82 percent of the county vote, and won only one other precinct, that being in Campbell.

Walter Pishkur of Boardman finished second in the primary with 28.54 percent of the vote. But all he could do in Youngstown was muster a tie in one precinct.

Ditzler was strong in his hometown, winning all 40 precincts in Austintown, and won 37 of Boardman’s 47 voting precincts with three ties in that township.

Pishkur won 27 precincts countywide and had six ties.


1mahoningcovoice(11 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

CORRUPT DAVE BETRAS WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS WIN !!!! THINK ABOUT IT ?Dave Betras did nothing but bad talk Paul Gains this entire time. Calling him a drunk, lazy, scared, how bad he ran his office, how bad his assistants were, etc... Now all of a sudden Mr. Betras is changing his tone saying how honest and great a man Gains is and how Great his Office was for the past 15 years. WHY? Because now Betras backed the wrong horse and will have plenty of cases coming thru Paul Gains Office and now Betras wont be able to get all those sweet-heart deals (Plea Bargins) he was looking forward to with Macejko. A warning to ANYONE looking to hire Dave Betras or his law firm Dont Expect Any Great Plea Deals with Betras and his law firm representing you. Your Toast !!!!!! Paul is going to stick to the letter of the law and let Betras have it thats for sure no matter how much Betras begs Paul. Betras says "Im going to sit down with Paul in the next couple of days" who does Betras think he is ???? I would think twice about hiring Betras or his law firm for ANY cases that has to go through Paul Gains Office, cause if you do, expect to be going to JAIL !!! Its all part of the politics of this County... Betras backed the wrong man and now if you hire Betras or his law firm LOOK OUT.......So that pretty much includes EVERY COURT in this County except Youngstown and dont look for Jay to be there much longer. You will have NO Chance Whatsoever of seeing any great plea deal in Boardman, Canfield, Sebring, Austintown, Common Pleas Court, etc... as long as Betras or his law firm represents you. Just think about it ??? It has always worked this way in this County. Thats why the last Chairman did away with endorcements so this type of buddy system did not happen. But Betras being the person he is tried going back to the old Hanni days where backing the winner came with great power. Now Dave Betras and his Law Firm has NO POWER to bargin with Paul Gains' Office or any County Court whatsoever. Betras is still living in the day of the old Hanni times. He backed the only Attorney General in the History of Ohio who had to resign his office because of illegal money being spent, the money that Betras was responsible for. Then Betras was given the slap down the first time he tired to get on the board of elections. Betras is moving this County back to the old days of bad prosecutors and judges and once again Pain Gains took a bullet for this County and stood up to Betras. The ONLY way to teach Betras a lesson is to hit him where it hurts. IN HIS POCKET BOOK. And to do that you dont hire Betras or his law firm. Good luck Dave Betras you just screwed yourself and all your clients. ITS BACK TO THE OLD HANNI WAYS WITH BETRAS AS DEM LEADER. Paul Gains will at least hold Betras back by sticking it Betras' clients if your thick enough to even hire Betras.

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2faith(200 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

You dont like Dave, I know him and never heard him say any of that stuff about Gains. Yes he was for Jay, but that's because the party endorsed Jay. Had the party endorsed Paul, Dave would have been fighting for him. The precinct committee people made the endorsement, not Dave.

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3chuck_carney(499 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations to Prosecutor Gaines on winning the election. I'm sure he will not be react negatively to Chairman Mao Betras ans his Associates as mahoning voice suggests. Paul is smart enough to realize that he is a position of public trust and cannot carry out any personal vendettas.

Now that the date of the racist text has been established as 4-7-2009 during the Jay Williams term as Mayor, the next question is when did the Honorable mayor Williams know of this text message? The two two Jays must be investigated and all the information placed before the public.

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4mahoningcovoice(11 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Faith. Im sorry you still have "faith" but yes Betras did nothing but bad talk about Gains ANY chance he had during speeches or when in front of a News Camera. Betras said Nothing good about Gains. They were both Democrats and lawyers so Betras should have chosen his words wisely but he didn't. And your hiding under a rock if you don't believe that Betras hand picks (like Hanni did) who he wants the party to endorse and thats a fact. And its done so favors are passed around. Look at how many politicians, judges, cops, commissioners, lawyers, etc... that were arrested during the Hanni days when they used endorsements. Then go to the Morley days and see how dropping the endorsements lowered the arrest rate to like zilch...Betras hands picks the Precinct Committee Executive Committee and Precinct Committee people then wines and dines them (like Hanni did) and does some "favor$" for them and they choose who Betras says to choose. Thats the way it works. Dont fool yourself. Dave Ditzler (executive committee) receives the endorsement, Jerry Greene, etc... then those that dont receive the endorsement Betras then tries to intimadate the other people (Hughes, OZ, Goodin) from running using threats that if his "guy" (Macejko) is elected you wont see any deals or if my guy (Ginnetti) is elected you wont see any jobs for friends or family or he calls them names like fat and loser. Now Betras backs that tax loser, Patrick Ginnetti, from Struthers, (who owes $28,000 in back taxes since 2003) for the County Engineer over a great incumbant. Then Betras uses pressure to get Maricso to drop out who was probably one of the greatest engineers this county had and for who? A tax Cheat. So now put a tax cheat in that Office with millions of dollars of contracts for roads and we go right back to the days of 1994 to then Mahoning County Engineer William Fergus a participant in the criminal enterprise called public corruption. Just like the Hanni days when he used endorsements. Ginnetti was part of the "click" we call the Democratic party and Marisco wasn't. So Brtras backs the guy he can control (Ginnetti) and we the tax payers fall for it again. Bet the F.B.I is already watching that Engineers Office. People in this County should stop being told WHO to vote for and start electing great people again not tax cheats. When was the last time you heard something bad about the County Engineers Office? Dont say I told you so when that offfice is knee deep in do-do

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5redeye1(5609 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

The e-mail text that got everyone upset about Obama 's stimulus plan was all over the internet. I laugh, because i felt it was funny! So I wish people would get over it. There is to many thin skinned people around here anymore... Years ago all the people would have laugh at it, if the president was white, but we have a black president so everyone must be PC or they are a racist. What s shame!!!!!!!!!!

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