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Thu. 9:39 a.m.: State Supreme Court rules for Ungaro as House candidate

In a 4-3 decision this morning, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the Mahoning County Board of Elections erred when it refused to certify Eric Ungaro as an independent candidate for the 59th Ohio House District and ordered that he be on the Nov. 8 ballot.

“The good guy finally won,” Ungaro said. “I want to move forward. We’re under a time crunch. I want to talk about the issues.”

The board voted 3-1 on Aug. 26 to not certify Ungaro, a Poland Township trustee, as an independent candidate for the House seat.

Board members said Ungaro failed to disassociate himself from the Democratic Party because his official website gallery section had the party’s logo on at least 15 pictures.

Ungaro said the photos were uploaded Jan. 26, 2018, when he was running for a state House seat in the Democratic primary that year.

Ungaro said he’d done everything required to disassociate himself from the Democratic Party, including not voting in the last two party primaries.

The court decision stated Ungaro “is not required to show that he claimed disaffiliation from the Democratic Party in good faith. Instead, those opposing his candidacy have the burden to establish that Ungaro claimed disaffiliation in bad faith.”

The court said the elections board failed to hold a hearing before not certifying Ungaro and that “election laws must be liberally construed” in favor of a candidate.

The board had voted 2-2 on Aug. 29 on the independent candidacy of Greg Beight of New Springfield for the same state House seat. Frank LaRose, secretary of state, ruled Sept. 14 that Beight should be a candidate.

The two will face Youngstown Councilwoman Lauren McNally, who won the Democratic primary, in the Nov. 8 election. Also, Cecil Monroe of Youngstown filed as a write-in for the seat.

For more, read Friday’s Vindicator and Vindy.com

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