2013 mayoral race off to a fast start

On the side

Campaign stop: Justice Yvette McGee Brown of the Ohio Supreme Court, who is up for election in November, will visit with campaign volunteers at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Mahoning County Democratic Party’s headquarters, 3321 Mahoning Ave. in Youngstown.

Political forum: The Junior Civic League and Community Mobilization Committee are sponsoring a political forum at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the New Bethel Baptist Church, 1507 Hillman St. in Youngstown. The sponsors have invited candidates for the 13th Congressional District, Mahoning County commissioner and recorder, and the 7th District Court of Appeals. Proposed amendments to Youngstown’s charter, the statewide redistricting issue and the city school district’s tax renewal issue will also be discussed.

In Ohio, we’ve been in full campaign mode for several months.

We’ve seen thousands of political ads on TV, and it will only increase — if that’s possible — with early voting starting Tuesday and Election Day less than six weeks away.

This election has, with justification, drawn our attention.

It’s a presidential election year — and the most important election in our lifetime if we are to believe the candidates — and Ohio is the epicenter of the race.

Special interests

Ohio is also home to the most expensive special-interest-funded U.S. Senate race in the country.

Yet there are those who are preparing for the next campaign.

The filing deadline for the 2013 Youngstown mayoral primary race is about five months away.

And that’s not lost on some of the contenders interested in being the Democratic Party’s nominee for the job.

Council President Jamael Tito Brown held an event earlier this month to raise money for his mayoral run.

Outgoing Mahoning County Commissioner John McNally IV, a former Youngstown law director, has made his intentions known that he is interested in the mayoral seat. He will hold a fundraiser shortly.

Also, state Rep. Robert F. Hagan, who will start serving his last two-year term as an Ohio House member in January, is planning to run for mayor. Hagan, a former state senator, unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2005 as the Democratic nominee, losing to Jay Williams, then-an independent candidate.

Others, including at least one and maybe two members of council, are likely to run next year.

All of this would be avoided if Mayor Charles Sammarone chose to run for election next year.

But Sammarone has remained firm in his position on running next year. When he was appointed mayor in August 2011 he said he was 99 percent sure he wouldn’t run for mayor in 2013.

I’ve had numerous conversations with Sammarone in which he said the work he’s doing now to stabilize the city’s finances and improve accountability is to help the person who replaces him as mayor after next year’s election.

That’s certainly not the talk you hear from someone who plans to run for a four-year term for mayor.

Sammarone became mayor because he was city council president when Williams resigned in August 2011 to join President Barack Obama’s administration.

Williams serves as the deputy director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs in the White House. He was named to that position in June. Before that, Williams spent 10 months as director of the Office of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers.

Crowded field

Just like in 2005, the last time there wasn’t an incumbent in the Youngstown mayoral race, there will definitely be a crowded field of experienced politicians in the Democratic primary, and likely a lot of independents in the 2013 general election.

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