Retired Police Chief Jimmy Hughes’ campaign as a Democratic candidate for Youngstown mayor was short-lived.
But Hughes isn’t out of the mayoral race. He said he’ll file for the seat as an independent before the May 6 deadline.
Hughes, who retired as police chief in 2011, said he “wrestled” with the decision before last Wednesday’s filing deadline for the Democratic primary.
“But in the end, I’m a Democrat, and I place my marbles in that basket,” he said at the time.
But Monday, Hughes said he was “disaffiliating myself with the Democrats. The best chance for me to run is as an independent. It’s not an issue with Democratic voters. It’s with the local Democratic Party’s executive committee.”
Hughes said, “I didn’t feel I got a fair shake during the endorsement process” when he ran last year for Mahoning County sheriff. The party endorsed Jerry Greene, who was elected sheriff.
Democratic Chairman David Betras said, “We run a fair endorsement process. I don’t know what he’s claiming wasn’t fair about it other than he didn’t win.”
Greene “nurtured a lot of relationships” with the party’s central and executive committee members, who vote on endorsements, Betras said.
With Hughes out of the May 7 Democratic primary, three candidates remain.
They are John McNally IV, a former county commissioner and city law director; Council President Jamael Tito Brown; and Matthew Smith, who unsuccessfully ran for elected city office in the 1980s.
Hughes said his “credibility, character and experience” make him the best candidate for the job.
Also, DeMaine Kitchen, the mayor’s chief of staff/secretary, is preparing an independent bid for the seat.
On Monday, the board of elections certified the eligibility of all candidates who filed for the May primary.
Hughes had until that meeting to withdraw.
He did so late Friday afternoon.
All other candidates and issues were certified to the ballot by the board except a Sunday liquor option for Tangier at 880 Youngstown-Poland Road in Struthers.
The option needed 90 valid signatures. It only had 80.