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.