Youngstown Deputy Law Director Anthony Donofrio will run in the Democratic primary in May for an open seat on the 7th District Court of Appeals.
Donofrio is the first, but likely not the last, Democrat to announce plans to run for the seat held by Judge Joseph J. Vukovich, who is retiring rather than seeking a fourth six-year term on the court.
Other potential Democratic candidates for Judge Vukovich’s spot include Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul J. Gains and former county Commissioner David Engler.
Also, Judge Cheryl L. Waite, first elected to the court of appeals in 1996, will seek her fourth six-year term this year. Mark A. Hanni, who lost the 2012 general election for an appeals seat to Judge Mary DeGenaro, is considering a Democratic primary challenge against Judge Waite.
Donofrio will discuss his candidacy today at a noon press conference at the D.D. and Velma Davis Education & Visitor Center at Mill Creek MetroParks’ Fellows Riverside Gardens.
Donofrio said he’s “uniquely qualified” for the job because of his “diverse experience in all areas of the law heard by the court.”
In addition to being the No. 2 attorney in Youngstown’s law department, Donofrio has been a practicing attorney for more than 20 years. He is a former assistant Mahoning County prosecutor, and previously worked for the Rossi & Rossi law firm and as in-house corporate counsel for the B.J. Alan Co.
Donofrio’s brother, Gene, is on the court of appeals, serving for 21 years. Their father, Joseph, is a retired 7th District Court of Appeals judge.
Judge Carol Robb of Columbiana County Municipal Court is the lone Republican who’s announced her candidacy for the Judge Vukovich seat.
She was first elected to her judicial position in 2005 and re-elected two months ago in an unopposed race.
Feb. 5 is the deadline for candidates to file for the May primary.
The district includes Mahoning, Columbiana, Belmont, Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson, Monroe and Noble counties.
Mahoning is the most-populous county in the district, and all four current judge are from there.
Judge DeGenaro is the lone Republican on the court.