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David Betras is re-elected Mahoning County Democratic Party chairman

Published: Sun, June 8, 2014 @ 12:06 a.m.

By David Skolnick



Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras took a few moments to savor his re-election victory before turning his attention to those who opposed his candidacy.

At the top of the list was Mark Hanni, Democratic nominee for a county common-pleas-court seat. Judicial candidates aren’t permitted to involve themselves in partisan politics under the judicial code of conduct, and Hanni called precinct committee members on behalf of Socrates Kolitsos, another chairman candidate, Betras said.

Betras said of Hanni: “He will not be getting the support of the Democratic Party in this upcoming race. He will not be on any literature of the Democratic Party. He will not be part of the coordinated campaign.”

Hanni attended Saturday’s vote by precinct committee members. Attempts by The Vindicator to contact him by phone to comment after the meeting were unsuccessful.

Betras won the chairman’s race with 70.2 percent of the vote. He received 134 votes compared with 54 for Kolitsos and three for Rick Berger.

Kolitsos said Hanni didn’t tell him he was backing his candidacy, and wasn’t involved in his campaign. He added that he doesn’t know of any precinct committee members Hanni may have contacted.

During his speech, Betras spoke about the party’s accomplishments with him as chairman for the past five-plus years. The party, he said, raised about $750,000, more money than under any other chairman; every endorsed candidate but one won the Democratic primary; he’s given about $50,000 to the party; and he touted the attention the county party has received from state and national Democratic leaders.

He urged precinct committee members to not give control of the party to those who “deal in lies.”

Betras first was elected chairman April 27, 2009, to succeed Lisa Antonini, who resigned. Two years later, Antonini, who also served as county treasurer, was charged and subsequently convicted in federal court of a count of honest-services mail fraud.

Betras won a full four-year term June 2, 2010, and was re-elected Saturday. He has said this will be his last term as chairman.

Betras had a slate of candidates running with him. All but Kenneth Carano, seeking re-election as executive vice chairman, won.

Carano lost to Ronald Massullo on a third ballot of voting.

All candidates had to get one more vote than 50 percent to win.

On the first ballot, Carano got 45.3 percent to 41.7 percent for Massullo, and 13 percent for David Engler, who lost the party’s primary last month for a seat on the 7th District Court of Appeals.

The second ballot had Massullo with 48.5 percent, Carano with 44.9 percent and Engler with 6.6 percent. Under party rules, the person with the lowest amount on a second ballot is removed. On the third ballot, Massullo received 52 percent of the vote to 48 percent for Carano.

The other winners were: Jamael Tito Brown for vice chairman of minority affairs; Joe Halas — who ran unopposed, vice chairman of labor relations; Joyce Kale-Pesta, secretary; and Richard Clautti, treasurer.

The three who faced one opponent each all received more than 60 percent of the vote. Kale-Pesta ran against John Vivo, the incumbent for the past eight years. Betras backed Kale-Pesta because he said there should be a woman among the party officers. Jaladah Aslam, the only woman among party officers, didn’t seek re-election this year as vice chairwoman of labor relations.

Mahoning County Republicans also met Saturday, re-electing Mark Munroe chairman and Donna Bricker, chairwoman.

Tracey Winbush was elected vice chairman, replacing Ed Crepage, who didn’t seek re-election. They all ran unopposed.

Munroe, with the approval of Republican precinct committee members, selected Ruth Nabb to replace Winbush as party secretary, and to retain Mark Mangie as treasurer and Alex Mangie as deputy treasurer.


1Photoman(1070 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

Nothing in our valley ever seems to change. Is it any wonder that so many of our young, talented people flee this area? The one party system we appear to have works extremely well for those in power but does little for we average citizens. A sad state of affairs exists but I guess most of our voters simply don't care.

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2redvert(2165 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

The local voters get what they deserve!

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3tnmartin(426 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

What is also interesting is how widespread and ingrained some of these issues are.
Yet what is also interesting is how many of these issues are known in the neighborhoods but for some odd reason are not reported in the news media, including but not limited to the Vindicator. Case in point: the Warren paper has been reporting for well over a week of some scandals going on in Niles government involving money. Reports nearly every day. Yet I have yet to see one single word about it in the Vindy. Nor any reports on WFMJ or WKBN. Lots and lots and lots of stuff about Niles sports, but scandal involving public officials is conspicuously missing. Why? I didn't know about it until friends from there mentioned it to me. Was it printed and I simply overlooked it?

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4redeye1(5112 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

Thugstown new motto should be "Another four years of nothing getting done" I agree the people of Thugstown deserve what they will get which will be nothing

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5Roger_Thornhill(911 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago


Well gee, this is linked article makes things awkward.

Betras previously supported Hanni because he was "the only Democrat in the race."
Guess what? In 2014 Hanni is again the only Democrat in the race.

Hanni did not attack the Democrat party in this year's chair race, just Betras. And for that Betras will punish Hanni. See, it is not about good govt or the good of the Democrat party at all, it is all about Betras.

And Massullo supported Republican DeGenaro and now he is the Democrat's vice chair. How is that for a loyal Democrat?

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6mrblue(1136 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

Same good ol boys network. Nothing will change.

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7kleener(49 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

@tnmartin, No you did not overlook anything regarding Niles. It's simply no interest to Vindy or any other news stations.

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8rocky14(766 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

I see the Tea Party is out in full force.

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9jmagaratz(180 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

In 1936, the area turned "solid Democrat." Prior to that for many years, the area was dominated by "Lincoln Republicans" and the KKK.

Voters have a pattern of "reacting" to bad economy--the Depression--by voting for the opposite party.

With our geriatric base, we can expect Democrats to maintain their hold for a few more years.

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10Seriouslee(143 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

Betras who endorsed McNally, Antonini and Sciortino--ugh.

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11realmen(35 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

ysuforever MUST be Betras !!! Or Maruca !! One in the same !!!

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12realmen(35 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

I am so tired of hearing EVERYONE in the community say how much they despise him and yet he gets re-elected!!!

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13Notorious_Pig(117 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

Ok, let's all think of this like a normal person would: He endorsed 3 public officials, 2 of which were just indicted on multiple charges, and 1 of which has already served time. He basically let Antonini get railroaded and did nothing for her when it was time to stick up for her. If you ask 100 people their views on Dave Betras, 99 of them will tell you he is a prick....and that is almost a guarantee! So, why would someone, so hated amongst his peers and someone, who is obviously as crooked as can be, get RE-elected (yes, re-elected multiple times now) to head up the Democratic Party? In Youngstown, 9 out of 10 Democratic candidates who run for office will most likely get elected, just based upon that "D" behind their name, indicating their party affiliation. Business will continue to stay as far away from this corrupt place as possible. And just wait....the new racino will be the next Wild Wild West with the overflow of corrupt politicians and officials. This Valley will never prosper with pricks like Davey Betras in charge. And until you people wake up and smell the coffee, things will remain status quo around here. SICKENING!!!

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