Hughes joins mayoral field

On the side

Capitol Hill internship: Leah Callaway of Boardman, a student at George Washington University, is serving as a legislative intern in U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s Washington, D.C., office.

“I have a great deal of respect for the senator and his devotion to Ohioans,” said Callaway, who is pursuing degrees in international affairs and political science. “I wanted to help his office function in any way I could and also learn about the goings-on in a Senate office from the inside.”

Her work includes speaking with constituents, welcoming them to Brown’s office, and attending committee hearings and briefings — and for college credit.

Reappointed: Gov. John Kasich has reappointed Ellen Whitehouse, who operates Noah’s Lost Ark in Berlin Center, to the state’s Dangerous and Restricted Animals Advisory Board for a term that started Tuesday and runs through Jan. 15, 2016.

A few minutes before the deadline to file for the May 7 primary, retired Youngstown Police Chief Jimmy Hughes stood at the Mahoning County Board of Elections counter where candidates file nominating petitions.

I wasn’t surprised to see him. I had heard Hughes was considering a mayoral run, and had called him the day before to get confirmation. He (purposely) didn’t return my call.

Hughes was running for mayor, but debated whether to file as a Democrat in that party’s May 7 primary or wait until May 6 and file as an independent for the November general election.

Along with three board of elections employees and myself, Hughes discussed the merits of skipping the primary.

An independent bid would give him more time to campaign and raise money.

Hughes is still stinging from the county Democratic Party endorsing Jerry Greene over him for county sheriff last year. Greene soundly defeated Hughes by 30.89 percentage points.

Hughes decided to run as a Democrat.

Hughes, who is black, did well in the black sections of Youngstown in last year’s sheriff primary.

He won every precinct in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd wards, and won nine of 10 precincts in the 6th.

Also, of the 14 precincts in the 5th Ward, Hughes won half. The 5th is a split white/black ward with Hughes winning in the black portions.

When it came to the city’s white voting center, the 4th and 7th wards, Greene won 23 of the 26 precincts.

If race remains a key factor among Youngstown voters — and it has for decades — John McNally IV, the only white candidate in the Democratic primary, will win. That is assuming he doesn’t do anything incredibly stupid, and I don’t anticipate that happening.

Also McNally, a former county commissioner and city law director, has raised significantly more money than the other mayoral candidates, and appears to be better organized.

Besides Hughes, the other candidates in the race are Council President Jamael Tito Brown and Matthew Smith.

Expect Smith to finish last, and whatever votes he gets will likely come from those who would cast ballots for Hughes or Brown.

If history is any indication, Brown and Hughes will probably split the black vote.

Neither will come close to raising the money McNally will, unless Hughes decides to tap into his pension, as he did in his failed 2012 sheriff’s race.

Both Brown and Hughes brushed aside the issue of splitting the black vote.

“Whoever is going to be the next mayor will have the best vision and the ability to take care of the problems of the city,” Brown said.

Hughes said his “vision” as well as his “background, training and experience” makes him the best candidate.

It appears that one black mayoral candidate sees the writing on the wall.

DeMaine Kitchen, the mayor’s chief of staff/secretary, is preparing an independent bid for the seat.

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