In their first debate, the three Democratic candidates for mayor were not only cordial to each other, but one spoke in defense of an opponent.
The candidates — council President Jamael Tito Brown, John McNally IV, a former Mahoning County commissioner and city law director, and Matthew Smith, a minister — responded to questions from a three-member media panel for about 90 minutes tonight at a debate, sponsored by the 7th Ward Citizens Coalition.
Bertram de Souza, an editorial writer and columnist for The Vindicator, asked McNally if he would quit the race if charges of political corruption, dismissed in July 2011, were refiled. McNally, who has said he is innocent of the charges related to his opposition to the county’s purchase of Oakhill Renaissance Center, said he wouldn’t.
The charges were dropped at the request of special prosecutors who said their inability to obtain tape recordings held by the FBI supposedly related to the case made it impossible to proceed.
Brown said he wanted the government to say McNally is no longer under investigation so that issue can be put to rest and the candidates can talk about the key issues in the race leading up to the May 7 primary.
The three candidates agree that job creation and retention in the city is a top priority. The debate was at 'Mill Creek MetroParks' D.D. and Velma Davis Education and Visitor Center at Fellows Riverside Gardens.
For the complete story, read Friday’s Vindicator or Vindy.com