Wednesday, May 3, 2017
By David Skolnick
DeMaine Kitchen, who resigned as the mayor’s chief of staff in 2013 just before a report determined he sexually harassed a city employee, won the Democratic primary for Youngstown City Council president.
Also, Carla Baldwin, a Mahoning County Juvenile Court magistrate, captured the Democratic nominee Tuesday for city municipal court judge.
“I’m really humbled; I’m kind of numb,” Kitchen said moments after winning the primary over three other challengers.
“I’m glad the city endorsed me even when no one else would.”
When asked if the victory was redemption, Kitchen said it wasn’t.
“People appreciated my work on the field despite what happened off the field,” he said. “I’m eager to return and get back to the business of the people. I’m committed to the people of the city and they’re convinced I’m the right man for the job.”
No one filed as either a Republican or an independent candidate for the seat in the Nov. 7 general election.
The position is currently held by Charles Sammarone, who opted not to seek re-election.
It was during Kitchen’s time as chief of staff to Sammarone that the allegations of sexual harassment were made. An investigator in December 2013 hired by the city concluded Kitchen committed sexual harassment. Kitchen said it was verbal in nature and he’s taken full responsibility and apologized for it.
Kitchen, also a former 2nd Ward councilman, received 3,537 votes with 4th Ward Councilman Mike Ray finishing second with 2,580 votes, according to final but unofficial results.
John R. Swierz, a former council president and 7th Ward councilman, finished third with 1,546 votes while political newcomer Young Tensley ended in last place with 373 votes.
“I worked hard and felt I ran a good race, but the voters decided,” Ray said. “This is one Youngstown, and we need to move forward.”
The primary duty of the president is to run council meetings. Council president also is the successor to the mayor should the city’s top elected official leave before his term expires. That happened only once in the 94 years since the city charter was adopted when Jay Williams resigned Aug. 1, 2011, to join the administration of then-President Barack Obama and Sammarone became mayor.
Meanwhile, Baldwin had the biggest win of the night in the Democratic primary in Mahoning County for municipal court judge.
Baldwin received 4,757 votes, beating Anthony Sertick, municipal court magistrate, who received 3,370 votes.
This was the first time both had ever run for elected office.
“I am absolutely overwhelmed, excited, blessed and ready to push through to November,” Baldwin said. “I’m not surprised by the outcome. The enthusiasm of the campaign was absolutely phenomenal. I’m humbled voters chose me as their candidate.”
Sertick said he was disappointed, but “I did everything I could. I wouldn’t have done anything different. I’m very proud of what we did and the campaign we ran.”
Sertick said he wants to remain as the city magistrate.
“I want to stay until they don’t want me anymore,” he said.
“After 16 years as magistrate, I can offer a lot to the court.”
Mark Anthony Hanni filed Monday to run as an independent candidate for the seat in the general election.
The next judge will succeed Robert Millich, who couldn’t seek re-election because of the state’s age-limit law .