Thursday, May 31, 2018
By David Skolnick
Tonight’s meeting to elect officers to the Mahoning County Democratic Party will be anticlimatic as all candidates are running unopposed.
Wednesday at noon was the deadline to apply for party officer positions. The party is to meet at 7 p.m. tonight at Mr. Anthony’s Banquet Center on South Avenue in Boardman.
David Betras will be re-elected chairman, a position he’s held since April 27, 2009, when he succeeded Lisa Antonini. She was charged and convicted in federal court of a count of honest-services fraud.
Betras won a full four-year term June 2, 2010, and was re-elected June 7, 2014. He will be elected today to a third four-year term.
Four years ago, Betras won the chairman’s race with 70.2 percent of the vote against Socrates Kolitsos and Rick Berger.
All the other positions being elected today are also for four years.
Joyce Kale-Pesta, the board of elections’ director, will be re-elected first vice chairwoman/secretary.
Others running unopposed for re-election are Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown as vice chairman of minority affairs and Richard Clautti as treasurer.
Those seeking party office for the first time tonight are Anthony Pilolli as executive vice president and Charles Altiero as executive vice president of labor relations.
Meanwhile, in June or July, the party’s precinct committee members will meet to select a candidate to run for county auditor, Betras said.
Roger Chamberlain of Youngstown ran as a write-in with the intention of securing a spot for a Democrat on the general election ballot as a placeholder and then have the party select someone else.
The person expected to be selected is Brandon J. Kovach of Austintown, Betras said.
Kovach was disqualified as a candidate by the county board of elections in February because he didn’t have enough valid signatures on his nominating petitions. He tried to run as a write-in candidate in the primary, but the board disqualified him again.
But Betras said Kovach was disqualified in the primary election, but would be eligible to run in the general election. Betras said he’s requested an opinion from the county prosecutor’s office before the party moves ahead with the Kovach nomination.