Published April 29, 2006
If there's a word that defines Tuesday's primary election in Ohio, it's "test." The Democratic and Republican parties will be put to the test in the statewide elections, the 6th Congressional District fiasco at least on the Democratic side and local races.
The Mahoning Valley's statewide political clout again on the Democratic Party's side will be put to the test in the race for the attorney general nominaton. The Mahoning Valley has a favorite son in the race, state Sen. Marc Dann of Liberty, but he faces a formidable opponent in Subodh Chandra of Cleveland, a former federal prosecutor and former law director for the city of Cleveland.
Even though the Valley is a Democratic stronghold, the state party has largely ignored the area with regard to recruiting candidates for statewide office. That's why Dann's presence on the ballot is not only unsual, but is a test for Democrats.
The Democratic tilt for commissioner in Mahoning and Trumbull counties will be a test for the party leadership. In Mahoning County, Commissioner David Ludt is being challenged by former Youngstown Mayor George M. McKelvey, who is considered a traitor by party leaders because he publicly and enthusiastically supported Republican President Bush in 2004.
Indeed, over the weekend, Ludt's television commercial referred to McKelvey's support of Bush and had one the party's elders, former state Sen. Harry Meshel, pitching for him (Ludt).
McKelvey's victory will be viewed as a vote of no confidence in the Mahoning County Democratic Party's leadership.
The same can be said of the the battle for the Trumbull County commission seat being vacated by James Tsagaris. The crowded field includes Niles Councilman Frank Fuda, who is endorsed by the party, and James Melfi, the mayor of Girard.
Fuda's loss would not only reflect poorly on the party leadership, but also on the labor unions that have endorsed him.
In the 6th Congressional District, the Democratic primary will be a test of voters' ability to spell through writing or typing.
It will also be a test of the ability of the boards of elections in all the counties that make up the 6th District to discern VOTER INTENT. That's because the candidate that the local, state and Democratic parties want as the nominee in the November general election is not on the ballot.
Instead, voters on Tuesday will have to write in or type in Charlie Wilson's name. The law does not require an exact spelling, but neither does it permit boards of elections to give voters the benefit of the doubt when they write or type a name that has no resemblance to the original.
"Chuck Willsun" does give a clear indication of what the voter intends. "Chuck E. Cheese" does not.