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Republican DiFabio seeks Ditzler’s county commissioner post

YOUNGSTOWN — Republican Geno DiFabio, who lost a Mahoning County commissioner race last year by only 130 votes, has filed nominating petitions for the seat held by three-term incumbent David Ditzler, a Democrat who will seek re-election.

“I don’t like the way they are spending money and that they support every tax levy and don’t look to see if the money is needed,” DiFabio of Youngstown said. “They’re arrogant politicians who need to go. I want to work for the good people of Mahoning County.”

DiFabio turned in his nominating petitions Thursday to the board of elections. Dec. 20 is the filing deadline for the March 19 primary.

Ditzler of Austintown, who plans to seek a fourth four-year term next year, said: “Basically, this is an election to hire a CEO of a $300 million corporation, Mahoning County. I look forward to presenting my qualifications, experience, education and the results of our board’s work to the electorate.”

DiFabio said: “Tell me what Ditzler has done. They rubber-stamp everything. The commissioners are good for photo ops by taking credit for spending (federal American Rescue Plan money). I won’t put my name on a big check and say, ‘Look what I did.'”

DiFabio also was critical of Mahoning having one of the highest county sales taxes in Ohio.

“What do we have for it?” he said.

Each man has to win his party’s primary before they face each other in the November 2024 general election, but both are seen as the clear front-runners to get the nominations.

DiFabio ran last year against incumbent Democrat Carol Rimedio-Righetti of Youngstown, who won her fourth four-year term by 0.14% after two recounts. It was the closest countywide election in 30 years.

DiFabio said he has to “work a little bit harder this time” to win a seat on the board of county commissioners.

“He doesn’t know the responsibilities of what the county commissioners do unless he took classes since the last election,” Ditzler said of DiFabio. “The things he spews aren’t true. The people vote for taxes. We don’t impose taxes. I’ve been an advocate to let people decide what they want to pay for by their votes. We’ve had the most infrastructure improvements and the highest bond rating for the county ever.”

Incumbent Commissioner Anthony Traficanti, a Poland Democrat, also said he is running next year for his fifth four-year term. He hasn’t filed his nominating petitions yet.

Republicans are in disussions with a potential candidate to challenge Traficanti, but no decision has been made, said Tom McCabe, party chairman.

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