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« Stirfry

Black vs. black in the mayor's race? Not likely

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published February 1, 2009

Although Robert Bush, an assistant Mahoning County prosecutor and former Youngstown police chief and law director, has taken out petitions to run in this year's Democratic Primary for mayor of Youngstown, he won't be a candidate. Why? Because Bush does not want to go down in history as the black politician responsible for the first black mayor in this history of the city failing to win re-election.

Mayor Jay Williams, who ran as an independent four years ago and defeated the Democratic nominee, Robert Hagan, is running in the Democratic primary this year. He can expect a challenge — but not from a politically prominent black like Bush.

Two blacks in the primary would guarantee a candidate from the predominantly white West Side. And such a candidate would have a very good chance of winning because Williams and Bush would be splitting the black vote and the vote in the racially mixed wards.

So, why is the assistant Mahoning County prosecutor making noises about running? First, because pay back is always fun. When Williams became mayor, he refused to keep Bush on as police chief. Second, he may be positioning himself for a game of "Let'a Make A Deal" with the mayor.

In  the end, however, black leaders in the city will not sit idly by while the first black mayor in history is deprived of a second four-year term because of a black challenger.



1aeparish(669 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

'Predominantly white west side?'

Bertram, have you strolled over the west side lately?

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2aeparish(669 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Over to, I mean.

P.S. Why does it have to come down to race, anyhow? Shouldn't this election be about who is going to most effectively help Youngstown and its people? It's really nice to see that the main priority at this point is trying not to make a black man cry.

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3da_truth(6 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Betram missed the mark on this one. I live on the Westside and I can tell you that Jay Williams will have a good deal of supoprt in the 4th and 5th Ward over Bush or even a White candidate.

Williams is not without his faults but folks in my neck of the woods and others that I know are strongly behind him.

I'm fairly certain Mayor Williams would win even if there were two blacks and one white candidate in the race. As the incumbent with crossover appreal and a decent track record he will be difficult to beat. In my opionion he has earned another term and a lot of folks I talk to tend to agree.

Others will surely dispute this, but I say he wins with over 60% of the vote.

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