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Three Democratic write-in candidates running for council president

YOUNGSTOWN — If incumbent Youngstown council President DeMaine Kitchen would have been successful in collecting 50 valid signatures on his nominating petitions, there wouldn’t be a contested Democratic primary for his seat.

But because of that failure, Kitchen, who’s in his first four-year term as president, is running in an unusual race against two other candidates — all as write-ins.

His two challengers in the May 4 Democratic primary are Tom Hetrick, a nutrition educator for Mercy Health-Youngstown and a former neighborhood planner for the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp.; and Lee David Pupio, a retired city wastewater collections system maintenance operations employee.

Hetrick said Kitchen’s inability to get 50 valid signatures “opened up a wonderful opportunity” for him to run.

Pupio said: “Honestly, I had been asked about running against him, but had said no since I have a certain level of respect for him. But once he dropped the ball I considered that perhaps he wasn’t completely invested in dedicating himself to the job at the level the people of Youngstown deserve.”

Read more about all three candidates in Sunday’s Vindicator.

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