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Betras targets errant Dems



Published: Fri, November 30, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By David Skolnick (Contact)


On the side

Valley delivers for Obama: With provisional votes counted, President Barack Obama did even better in the Mahoning Valley.

Obama’s election-night percentage in Mahoning County was 63.06. With provisionals counted, he jumped to 63.52 percent. Also, total voter turnout in the county increased from 70.07 percent to 72.2 percent.

In Trumbull County, Obama, the incumbent Democrat, ended up getting 60.48 percent of the vote after provisional ballots were counted. He had 60.08 percent of the vote on election night. Turnout in Trumbull ended up being 67.81 percent, an increase from 65.79 percent on election night.

Obama still lost in Columbiana County, but did good enough with provisional voters that his final percentage increased from 42.79 percent on election night to 42.9 percent. Turnout in Columbiana was 70.07, up from 68.58 percent before provisionals were counted.

Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras doesn’t want a repeat performance from the Nov. 6 general election that saw members of the party’s central committee and elected officers openly endorse a Republican for judge.

If you’re an elected officer of the party, such as a vice president or secretary, or a precinct committee member who supports candidates not endorsed by the party, there is no way to remove that person from his/her position. (Betras can remove members of the party’s executive committee at will; as chairman, he appoints all members to that committee.)

Betras will propose a party constitutional amendment to establish a small group that would have the power to remove central committee members and elected officers, including the chairman, from their positions for supporting candidates who are facing those endorsed by the party.

The plan is to consider it for a vote when the party’s central and executive committees meet in February to endorse candidates, including Youngstown mayor, for the May primary.

“I understand people can’t support some people,” Betras said. “I ask them to sit it out or be subject to being removed.”

Democrats in each of the county’s precincts elect members to the central committee while elected party officeholders — not to be confused with officeholders for county positions such as auditor or prosecutor — are chosen by those on the central and executive committees.

Betras said he’s checked with the state party, and if the local party amends its constitution, it can remove those people from their elected positions.

Of note is Jaladah Aslam, the county party’s vice chairwoman of labor relations, who backed Judge Mary DeGenaro in her successful re-election a few weeks ago for a seat on the 7th District Court of Appeals.

Judge DeGenaro, who received the backing of several local labor unions and organizations, was the Republican nominee for the seat.

Aslam also appeared in a commercial for Judge DeGenaro.

But under the local Democratic Party’s bylaws, there’s nothing that can be done to remove a person from an elected party position or as precinct committee person for backing the opponent of an endorsed Democratic candidate.

Mark Hanni, who’s burned bridges over the year with local Democrats and Republicans, was the Democratic nominee and endorsed candidate for the position.

In Ohio, many judicial races, including those for the court of appeals, are partisan political primaries and nonpartisan general elections.

“People say, ‘It’s nonpartisan,’ but we know that’s not the case,” Betras said.

There were also two precinct committee members who openly endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for president.

“I doubt any members of the Republican central committee endorsed Barack Obama,” Betras said.

It’s not just this election that’s been a problem.

In 2008, then-Democratic Chairwoman Lisa Antonini openly endorsed and supported Marty Yavorcik, an independent, in his failed effort to beat county Prosecutor Paul J. Gains, the Democratic incumbent.

In the 2010 primary, there were precinct committee members who worked for then-county Commissioner David Ludt, who lost the party’s endorsement — and primary — to Carol Rimedio-Righetti.


Comments

1seinfried(19 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

I agree with Dave Betras 100% . The party and the unions should of been behind the democratic candidate for judge from day one.. Mark Hanni would of been a good judge and good representative of the democratic pary..As a union member i didnt understand the shun by some unions.

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2Photoman(993 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

So Dave has been watching how Morsi is operating in Egypt!

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3valleygal(24 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Why should union members be mandated to support democrats? I thought that we were supposed to be a free country - with the freedom to vote for the candidate we want to support? And in the case of the 7th district court of appeals race that has brought this to such a head here in Mahoning County, this truly should be treated as a nonpartisan position and taking partisan positions on it is out and out wrong. Betras ought to be ashamed for making this such an issue. And, in the case in question, Judge DeGenaro was by far the more qualified candidate and it would have been a travesty had Hanni been elected simply because he is registered as a democrat or people are too lazy (or otherwise) to educate themselves on the issues and candidates (and this goes for all candidates for all offices and ballot issues.)

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4Old_School(39 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Amen to Valleygal. This was a non-partisan race people! Any race like this should be treated just like township trustee or school board. What difference does it make if someone is affiliated with a party for this race? The most qualified person won. The lawyers in Mahoning county declared that Hanni was "not qualified". I bet if they voted in secret weather or not Betras was qualified, they would have voted "NO". Doesn't he have a dog bite or an ambulance to chase?

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5ytownredux(117 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Love him or hate him, Dave Betras is correct. Do not be a part of the Democratic Party if you cant sit on your hands when the Party doesnt offer up your candidate of choice. Be an Independent. Non Partisan judgeships are a joke, as was explained. You run for your Primary in the Party of your choice. If you choose not to run in the Democratic or whatever Party, you cannot get anyone's public endorsement in that Party.

You can of course vote for them, you can wish them well privately, but you cannot publicly support them and maintain your position in the Party.

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6chuck_carney(499 comments)posted 1 year, 7 months ago

Wasn't there another party that tried to squelch its members right to free speech, control their thoughts and declare that religion is the opiate of the masses?

Negative change will be here for the next 49 months.

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