Two candidates filed as independents for Mahoning County Probate Court judge

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By David Skolnick


Two of the three finalists seeking to fill the vacant Mahoning County Probate Court judicial seat on an interim basis filed nominating petitions to be on the November ballot to serve for a full six-year term to the post.

Robert Rusu of Canfield and Mary Ann Fabrizi of Berlin Center, following through on previous statements that they would run, filed on Monday’s deadline to be independent candidates.

The candidates need 855 valid signatures to be certified to the general election ballot.

Rusu filed petitions with 1,699 signatures and Fabrizi with 1,393 signatures, according to the county board of elections.

The Mahoning County Republican Party recommended April 15 that the governor choose between Rusu, Fabrizi and Christopher Sammarone of Canfield to fill the unexpired term of Mark Belinky, a Democrat under criminal investigation by the state, who resigned March 14. The term expires Feb. 8, 2015.

Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, hasn’t made a decision yet on who will replace Belinky.

Sammarone is facing Susan Maruca of Poland in today’s Democratic primary for the judicial seat with the winner moving on to the Nov. 4 general election.

Maruca, the endorsed county Democratic Party candidate, was the only person seeking the local GOP recommendation to Kasich who didn’t receive it. Maruca has said the Republican committee didn’t endorse her as part of “a political strategy” to hurt her campaign.

County Republican Party Chairman Mark Munroe has said that’s not true, and the party gave the governor “the three most-qualified candidates.”

Republicans failed to field a candidate in the probate court race.

Fabrizi is a registered Republican, having voted in GOP primaries five times in the last decade. Rusu doesn’t have a party affiliation, voting issues-only in primaries going back 16 years.

Monday was the deadline for those wanting to run in the general election as independents to file.

The only other person in the Mahoning Valley to file as an independent candidate is Eric A. Dunn of Southington for the 64th Ohio House District seat.

If Dunn is certified, he would face the winner of today’s Democratic primary in the Nov. 4 general election as well as Republican Randy Law of Warren and Elaine Mastromatteo of Bristolville, a Green Party candidate.

The three running in today’s Democratic primary are Michael O’Brien, Eugene Mach II, and Ken MacPherson, all of Warren.

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