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Youngstown's white wards chose the 2nd place mayoral candidate

Friday, November 10, 2017


While all the candidates who ran for mayor are black, the city’s largely white wards had a preferred candidate – and it wasn’t the winner, Jamael Tito Brown.

The predominantly white 4th, 5th and 7th Wards backed Sean McKinney, an independent candidate who finished second, 166 votes behind Brown.

Meanwhile, the largely black populated 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 6th Wards backed Brown, a Democrat, in the election he won by 1.5 percentage points, according to final but unofficial results.

The vote will be certified later this month.

Brown said he didn’t want to talk about why the mostly white wards didn’t embrace his candidacy, adding it “doesn’t matter.”

As mayor, Brown said, “I want to unify Youngstown, all seven wards, even the ones that didn’t support me. I’m going to work for everybody.”

McKinney, who resigned as the city’s building and grounds commissioner in April to run for mayor, has been all but invisible to the media since his loss. Except for a brief interview with The Vindicator late Tuesday after the election results, in which his only comment was he was waiting for all the votes to be counted, McKinney has not made himself available to the media, does not respond to texts and his cellphone’s voicemail is full.

William Binning, a former chairman of the Youngstown State University political science department, said the results by ward aren’t unexpected.

“Tito was clearly the African-American candidate coming out of the primary, and it was clear he was the preferred African-American candidate in the general election,” Binning said. “Tito won the primary with the African-American vote. There was no reason to believe it would change in the general.”

While outgoing Mayor John A. McNally, who is white and lost the Democratic primary to Brown, didn’t endorse a candidate to succeed him, his power bases in the city of the 4th, 5th and 7th Wards went with McKinney, Binning said.

Brown said he campaigned throughout the entire city but had a “focus” on his home turf: the 3rd Ward on the North Side. That focus apparently paid off as it was Brown’s strongest ward, with him capturing 1,190 votes, or 64.7 percent, compared with 569 votes for McKinney, or 30.9 percent.

“The 3rd Ward was my base, and you make sure you shore up your base,” Brown said.

Overall, Brown received 47.1 percent of the city vote compared with 45.6 percent for McKinney.

Read more about the results in Saturday's Vindicator or on