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Youngstown mayoral vote splits mostly along racial lines

Published: Sun, May 12, 2013 @ 12:09 a.m.

By David Skolnick



Though John A. McNally IV beat Jamael Tito Brown citywide in the Democratic primary for Youngstown mayor by only 2.29 percentage points, the race between the two in the city’s seven wards wasn’t competitive.

Also, overall turnout for the primary election in the city was only 15.7 percent, and 16.9 percent in Mahoning County.

But when it comes to the Democratic mayoral primary, the city percentage is deceptive. That’s because a failed citywide charter amendment on Tuesday’s ballot meant all 44,278 registered voters in Youngstown were eligible to cast ballots for that issue.

When counting only registered Democrats in the city — the only ones permitted to vote in that party’s primary for Youngstown mayor — turnout was 64.1 percent, with a high of 81.8 percent in the city’s 3rd Ward.

This Democratic primary’s turnout in Youngstown is a little less than in 2005, the last mayoral primary without a sitting incumbent, and considerably more than in 2009 when then-Mayor Jay Williams easily won re-election.

Using raw numbers of votes in the city’s 77 precincts, provided by the county board of elections, an analysis by The Vindicator shows that though there were small changes in certain voting patterns, areas with a concentration of white people voted strongly in favor of McNally, who is white, and the same for black concentrated areas supporting Brown, who is black. This has been a longstanding pattern in Youngstown, among other cities.

Brown, city council president, easily beat McNally, a former county commissioner and city law director, in the four predominately black wards — the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 6th.

McNally had solid victories in the predominately white 4th and 7th wards and won by 21.1 percentage points in the 5th Ward, which has a growing black population but is still largely inhabited by whites. Those three wards also have the most residents and registered voters in the city.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” McNally said. “I’m not sure if we’ve gotten over the black candidates and the white candidates. When we face the numbers and the realities, it’s still there. I’m not going out on a limb to suggest that. It’s not every single person. But you’ve got to be realistic about it.”

Brown said certain results made him think race is not playing as significant a factor as it has with Youngstown voters just a few years ago.

Brown won two of the 13 precincts in the 7th Ward, a largely white area on the city’s southeast side, and McNally won three of the 10 precincts in the 6th Ward, a heavily concentrated black area on the South Side.

“It’s not just a black-and-white issue,” Brown said. “There are changing demographics. It’s not the same as it used to be. People are looking at the quality and experience of the candidates.”

Citywide, McNally received 50.4 percent of the vote to 48.1 percent for Brown. Matthew Smith got 1.5 percent in the Democratic mayoral primary.

But it wasn’t competitive in any of the wards.

In the largely black 1st Ward, which includes all of downtown and portions of the East and South sides, Brown received 70.9 percent of the vote compared with 26.7 percent for McNally. McNally won one of the ward’s seven precincts, 1E, the Crab Creek area, 27-17. Brown won the rest.

Of 795 registered Democrats in the ward, 516 voted, making turnout 64.9 percent.

In the predominately black 2nd Ward, which includes most of the East Side, Brown captured 77.4 percent of the vote and all 10 precincts, while McNally picked up 21.1 percent of the vote. This was Brown’s strongest ward, with huge victories in precincts by vote totals of 96-30, 109-22, and 107-23.

Of the 1,274 registered Democrats in the ward, 818 voted resulting in a 64.2 percent turnout.

In the largely black 3rd Ward, which takes in most of the North Side and the area Brown represented while a city councilman, he won all 10 precincts, and 68.9 percent of the vote. McNally received 29.9 percent.

Turnout for the mayoral primary was the highest of any ward in the 3rd — 81.8 percent with 1,120 of the 1,370 registered Democrats voting.

In the predominately white 4th Ward, the city’s upper West Side, McNally won all 13 precincts and 81.1 percent of the vote — his most successful ward in the primary. It also was the only ward in which a candidate received more than 1,000 votes; McNally received 1,024 to 211 for Brown, who picked up only 16.7 percent of the 4th Ward’s vote. McNally had convincing wins in precincts such as 171-34, 123-15 and 122-27.

Of the 2,075 registered Democrats in the 4th, 1,263 voted, a 60.9 percent turnout.

The 5th Ward went to McNally with 59.9 percent of the vote. Brown received 38.8 percent of the vote. The ward has 14 precincts, seven on the West Side that are predominately white — which McNally won — and seven on the South Side that are predominately black — which Brown won. Mill Creek MetroParks divides the ward, which has a growing black population, but still has a white majority.

The 5th had 2,075 voters in the primary, the most of any ward in the primary.

In the predominately black 6th Ward on the South Side, Brown won with 63.7 percent to 35.5 percent for McNally. In somewhat of a surprise, McNally won three of the ward’s 10 precincts, including its two most southern wards and its most northern ward.

Of the 810 registered Democrats in the ward, 496 voted for 61.2 percent turnout.

In the 7th Ward, a largely white ward on the city’s southeast side, McNally received 66.9 percent of the vote to 32.3 percent for Brown. McNally won 11 of the ward’s 13 precincts.

The 7th had the lowest Democratic voter turnout of the wards at 57.2 percent. Of 1,473 registered Democrats there, 842 voted.


1DSquared(1757 comments)posted 3 years ago

The "tolerant" Democrat Machine will keep the Black Man down.

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2redeye1(5534 comments)posted 3 years ago

Blacks want another black leader , just like they had in Jay. The whites want a white leader, just like I don't know. But the whites can see how the black leader in the White house has screwed over this country with his lame ideas and programs , Where the blacks like his type of programs. That is where the stand -off stands. It's a shame that people won't or care to learn all they can about a person running for an office. As far as I'm concern neither person should have been selected to run for mayor. They are both addicted to feeding from the public trough too long . It's a shame that a regular person who has new ideas and has never held the office would run.

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3Askmeificare(1125 comments)posted 3 years ago

I'm a white man and I voted for Jamael Tito Brown.

For me it was about character. I don't care to have a mayor owned by the cafaro's.

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4Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 3 years ago

“It’s not just a black-and-white issue,” Brown said. “There are changing demographics. It’s not the same as it used to be. People are looking at the quality and experience of the candidates.”

Sad to say, but yes it is, Brown. The bottom line is the blacks vote for a black and the whites for a white. Don't matter the character and beliefs in a individual. It's all about white and black.

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5JoeFromHubbard(1740 comments)posted 3 years ago

Racism has always, and will always, be a fact of life.

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6BigJim2234(57 comments)posted 3 years ago

Pat Ungaro was the last white Mayor who had a relationship and who pulled a large amount of minority vote. He was a teacher and coach in the city which helped him.

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7JoeFromHubbard(1740 comments)posted 3 years ago


As one of the major TV networks says: "We report, you decide."

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8Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 3 years ago


The Vindy is just stating the facts. Why not put it out there? People can't handle the truth even when it's in black and white.
And this is all over the USA, not just isolated in Youngstown.

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9JoeFromHubbard(1740 comments)posted 3 years ago

@ johnyoung:

I'll have to admit that you are more attuned to the Vindy than I am.

I tend to read the highlights of news articles, skim the self supplied analysis, and think for myself.

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10walter_sobchak(2631 comments)posted 3 years ago

David Skolnick is the political editor for the Vindy and he writes opinion pieces on his analysis of the political landscape based on his knowledge of the characters and climate of the Mahoning Valley, just as Clingan Jackson did for decades before him. If you don't like him or don't agree with his opinion, don't read his articles. But, with politics, it is mostly opinion as there is little politcal "news" to report, such as a cover-up of a terrorist attack in Benghazi. The problem with the Vindy is the lack of astute political opinions from the national scene since revenues are declining and those pieces are easily had on-line.

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11TERRAPINST(320 comments)posted 3 years ago

Askmeificare: You said in an earlier post that Brown wasn't qualified to be Mayor???? Now you vote for him. Maybe its folk like you who are responsible for the lack of integrity in our community. You outwardly criticize someone, then vote for him, but expect things to change-Man, you're a genius. WALTER: I expect more from you. You're response to the POOR quality of journalistic principle on behalf of this rag/ is to simply shut up and not read it? Really..you? I choose not to BUY it, but your whitewashing of what is actually verifiable-the SLANT this paper shows regarding every story is so obvious. They do have some responsibility to be objective and NEVER are, that is why they are a joke.

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12DSquared(1757 comments)posted 3 years ago

Democrats embrace and profess diversity when running against Republicans. Only then.

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13Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 3 years ago


""Do you folks really believe that 7,000 votes in a city with a population of 68,000 is representative of anything???""

In Youngstown, yes. At the polls, ask people why did they vote for someone. What did he say that made them vote for them. I would venture to guess 1 out of 5 voters would have no clue why they voted for him and what he stands for.

"If readers like sobchak and Lifes2Short are indicative of the Youngstown voter mentality, we are truly in trouble.""

Voter mentality? Really? Because we have a difference of opinion on a issue, your questioning my voting mentality. Seriously? Real classy there. So typical.

""The community's culture must change in order to encourage the public to number one, vote, and number two, select leaders on the basis of who they feel will best serve the overall interests and needs of the community. The Vindicator could be a catalyst in this regard, but chooses instead to focus on the more volatile issue of racism.""

Once again, just ignore the problem and maybe it'll go away. Nice thinking.

Deny it all you want or ignore it all you want, but it's a issue that needs to be talked about, not in back rooms or in private. Just saying.....

""Sixty-one percent of the 2nd District is African-American and, yes, many people will vote because the candidate is black," said Dick Simpson, chairman of the department of political science at the University of Illinois-Chicago."

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14Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 3 years ago

""You remind me of some of the "spin meisters" appearing on network news shows who insist on holding on to their misguided opinions despite solid evidence that they are on the wrong side of an issue and that their opinions are inaccurate with regard to logic and the facts.""

Your little childish comments are boring. Say something original. Misguided opinions? How could a opinion be misguided? It's a "opinion". And why is mine misguided and you think your's is right? smh

""That, my friend, is how you stem the tide of racism, not as you suggest by throwing up your hands and pathetically exclaiming that racism always has and always will exist, and as a community, there is nothing we can do about it.""

Did I say there is nothing we can do about it? Where in my comments did I say that my friend. Another one that reads only what they want to read. And yes there is something the community can do about it, one of them is like this article, make people aware of it instead of pushing it aside.

""You, on the other hand, have offered nothing except the same old Youngstown mentality that "this is the way it is because this is the way it has always been". Hence one of my previous statements that if the majority of residents share your mentality, Youngstown is truly headed down the wrong garden path.""

Offered nothing? Trying to explain to you that this happens, once again, "not" just in Youngstown, but all over the good old US of A. It's not a Youngstown mentality but a USA problem. Is that so hard to comprehend?

Race plays a precarious part in modern politics

Instead of citizens making a well-informed decision about who holds public office, some would rather vote based on something as superficial as skin color.

“I voted for Barack because he was black,” said Jackson to Ebony Magazine. “Because that’s why other folks vote for other people—because they look like them.”

Voting based on a candidate’s race is a dangerous precedent simply because it in itself is a form of racism. Biases should be suspended for the greater good of the public.


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15Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 3 years ago


""please take a class in logic; and then possibly you may begin to understand that attitudes like yours are the root of both the small and big problems that plague society."""

Attitude? Because you don't think there is a problem and I do? That is having a attitude? Not going to go back and forth with you, if you don't think this is a issue, then just keep you head in the sand. And when this starts escalating and becomes a huge issue, I promise I won't say "I told you so".

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16handymandave(567 comments)posted 3 years ago

If Jamael could have woke up a few more brothers
the race would have taken on a whole new dimension. Maybe he should have thought about using the Obama shuttle van like was in place at the south side poling during the presidential election. I would have liked to see Jamael get the nod. I am bothered by McNally's Cafaro connection and he has shown poor judgment with some of his friendships. Doesn't necessarily mean he won't make a good Mayor we'll have to wait and see.

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