Few county candidates file campaign finance reports

YOUNGSTOWN — With no primaries for any Mahoning County office on either the executive or judicial levels, only a handful of candidates filed campaign finance reports.

The pre-primary election reports are for the time between Jan. 1 and Feb. 26 and have to be filed by those who spent or raised at least $1,000. The primary is March 17.

The only notable campaign money raised were by the two candidates running for county prosecutor.

Marty Desmond, the Republican challenger in that race, raised $11,000 with $5,000 coming from Edward T. Saadi of Poland, an attorney, and $3,000 from Elizabeth A. Joyce, a retiree from Girard.

Desmond gave $100 to his campaign as well as $155 in in-kind contributions.

He spent $2,000 — all of it going to Communications Counsel of Columbus for campaign consulting.

Incumbent Prosecutor Paul J. Gains, a Democrat first elected in 1996, raised $4,275, all from a campaign fundraising event.

Gains spent $1,639 with $654 going to Five Star Graphics of Girard for advertising.

But Gains had more than $50,000 in his campaign fund to start this year and as of Feb. 26, it grew to $53,265.

Desmond was fired April 5, 2017, as an assistant county prosecutor, by Gains, who cited violations of various statutes and rules of professional conduct.

Desmond said he was terminated in retaliation for being a whistleblower. Three U.S. District Court of Appeals judges sided with Desmond in October 2019 in an appeal of his firing, returning the case to the State Personnel Board of Review. The case may also be considered by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Desmond was a longtime Democrat who never voted in a Republican primary when he filed his nominating petitions in December.

Also filing pre-primary reports were county Commissioner David Ditzler, a Democrat, and Steve Kirstan, his Republican challenger.

Kirstan raised $100 and loaned $862 to his campaign. After expenses, he had $190 in his campaign fund.

Ditzler, first elected commissioner in 2012, raised no money and spent $807 during the pre-primary period.

Ditzler had $17,640 in his fund to start the year and after expenses, he had $16,833 in it as of Feb. 26.


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