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Youngstown Councilman Julius Oliver exits race for Ohio Senate

Of the five candidates who initially applied for the Democratic Party’s appointment to the Nov. 5 ballot for the 33rd Ohio Senate District, only two remain.

Youngstown Councilman Julius Oliver, D-1st Ward, said Tuesday he withdrew from consideration because he was concerned about what’s going on in the city and didn’t know who would replace him.

“I don’t know who would have the passion to take my place,” Oliver said. “I need to finish the work in Youngstown and the 1st Ward.”

The ward includes downtown, which has been adversely impacted in particular by the May 28 gas explosion that caused significant damage to Realty Tower, one of its main buildings. The building is to be demolished soon.

Oliver said he was initially interested in the Ohio Senate appointment with “the thought of being able to help Youngstown from a more substantial seat. To put someone from Youngstown back in that seat would help the city. But when I thought about leaving, I realized I can’t leave it like it is now.”

With the previous withdrawals of Pat Kelly, Youngstown’s 5th Ward councilman, and Jess Conard of East Palestine, Appalachia director for Beyond Plastics, before the July 1 deadline, Democrats are down to two choices.

They are:

* Martin Hume of Youngstown, a longtime assistant Mahoning County prosecutor and former Youngstown law director. He has unsuccessfully run three times for judicial seats.

* David Mosure of Boardman, a retired principal for MS Consultants Inc., who has given contributions to Republicans including $2,000 to Donald Trump in 2020, $1,750 to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in 2021 and $7,500 to Gov. Mike DeWine in 2018 and 2019.

Also, Mosure isn’t a registered Democrat and hasn’t voted in a primary since 2012.

The selection of who gets the nomination will be determined by the Democratic Party chairmen and secretaries in Mahoning, Columbiana and Carroll counties, which make up the Senate district. It is being done by appointment, instead of through primaries, because of the timing of Michael Rulli’s June 12 resignation from the state Senate seat.

The six Democrats who will decide on the appointment will interview the candidates Thursday.

Hume and Mosure will meet with members of the central and executive committees of the three counties as well as the public via Zoom at 6 p.m. Monday. The candidates will give brief statements and then answer questions for about an hour.

The six Democrats deciding on the appointment will have a decision July 16 on the candidate, said Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman Chris Anderson.

Republican chairs and secretaries in the three counties voted 4-2 on June 13 for Al Cutrona of Canfield, a state representative since May 28, 2020, to be the party’s nominee on the Nov. 5 ballot.

The Ohio Senate Republican Caucus appointed Cutrona on June 26 to serve the rest of the year as senator.

Cutrona succeeded Rulli, R-Salem, who resigned June 12 after being elected the day before to the open 6th Congressional District seat in a special election.

Cutrona will serve the rest of this year. The winner of the Nov. 5 election will fill out the remaining two years of Rulli’s unexpired term.

The district favors Republicans by about 9.5% based on partisan statewide voting results during the past decade.

Have an interesting story? Contact David Skolnick by email at dskolnick@vindy.com. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @dskolnick.

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