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Engler vs. Betras for Dem Party chair?

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published November 8, 2008

The political wires are burning with talk of Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairwoman Lisa Antonini's impending resignation and Atty. David Engler's desire to replace her. Engler is one of the founders of Mahoning Democrats For Change and is a close ally of Michael Morley, who led Change movement's takeover of the party. Morley had served as the first chairman after the ouster of long-time head Don L. Hanni Jr..

But before Engler can grab the reins, he will have to overcome a challenge from well-known area lawyer David Betras, a political kingmaker of sorts. Betras was actively involved in Marc Dann's successful race for Ohio attorney general. He also has a lot of money — an important requirement in winning the support of precinct committeemen and women.

While Engler could expect the endorsement of Morley and the backing of committee members who were involved in the overthrow of the Hanni dynasty, Betras will undoubtedly argue that the Mahoning County Democatic Party has become inconsequential, as evidenced by its limited role in the presidential election and the outcome of some of the countywide races in Tuesday's general election.

An Engler/Betras battle — there could be other candidates — would be bloody. Engler can be expected to tie Betras to Dann's resignation as attorney general, while Betras will bring out Engler's being sanctioned by the Ohio Supreme Court over a case he handled.

In addition, if there are indictments stemming from the Ohio Ethics Commission's investigation of the Job and Family Services relocation controversy — the commission is looking into the role played by some county officials, including Antonini — there could be an even greater split within the party.

Mahoning County is in for a rough political ride.




1forum0205(7 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

Before Mr. Morley supports anyone for the chair of the Democratic party he had better decide just what party he is affiliated with. For a man who does not spend the majority of his time in the Mahoning Valley, he is always trying to be a power broker with our future. He got republicans to become democrats so he could oust Don Hanni and in the last election he rallied his loyalist to try to defeat the democratic candidate for Probate Judge, Mark Belinky, in favor of a long time republican, Hunter. The only thing that has change in the political arena in the Mahoning Valley over the last 20 years is that self-serving power bases take precedence over party loyality.

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2terrancesarco(41 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

I wish morely and engler would go away like the other parsites of the democratic party. the last week's election tells it all by the Mahoning Valley residents by electing belinky and mcnally to elected offices they do not deserve due to their past performers in their political careers. belinky should have been given the boot to the street once and for all. his past/present actions towards people who can not trust him as far as they can throw him. his lowest action during his campaign for probate judge sank to the newest low in seeking a political office. belinky was told to leave the mahoning courthouse during don hanni's sr. calling hours while lying in state, belinky was campaingning inside the courthouse when mourners were paying their last repects to hanni and his family. belinky refused to leave the courthouse. there are other odd behaviors that slim has shown during the campaign. \

Mcnally does not care about anyone but the Cafaro's coffers. He went on record on numerous political forums that he took campaign contributions that he should not have taken. He never offered any alternatives to the workers at the welfare department besides helping OMV corporation sticking the Mahoning Valley residents with an assine lease that would increase the Cafaro corp with other million dollars in coming years. Ludt and Trafficanti were right in purchasing the former southside hospital. it is ironic that all the Cafaro's expert witnesses remarks were thrown out by the judge during the trial but the Mahoning county commissioniers expert witnesses were found believable and kept in the trial notes for the judge's unbais legal opinion. After all that Mcnally still defends his actions for keeping his freindship with the OVM corp officials while his political career and his legal career canbe interrupted with ethic charges that might be brought against him and others. Is it worth the seven pieces of silver coins that the Cafaro corp officials throw at McNally when they only care about size how fat they can fill their coin-purse? John, is it worth it while your personal life canbe destoried by people who are using you in their own personal gains?

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