Challenges in election races raise bar for all

Independent political candidate Jennifer Donnelly had it right when she said “you can’t have an effective democracy with one candidate running.”

Donnelly is among a handful of independent or nonparty candidates who filed to run in the November general election. She is challenging Republican Mike Loychik of Bazetta for his 65th District statehouse seat.

Loychik, the incumbent, is questioning her candidacy. While he’s declined to answer our questions about specifics of his challenge, a press release he sent after winning his Republican primary election earlier this month stated that he would challenge Donnelly’s nominating petitions, her residence and her separation from the Democratic Party before filing to run as an independent.

Without her candidacy, the Republican nominee would have a clear path through November to the post because no Democrats had filed to run in the race.

Competition always helps raise the bar, and keeps candidates and elected officials in tune with the demands of their constituency. Without competition, candidates can become very comfortable.

In short, contested races trigger better government.

That’s why we are pleased when local residents step up and express interest in being a public servant.

If all the candidates who filed are certified, it appears most local races will have competition on Nov. 8.

In the 64th statehouse race, Democrat Vincent Peterson II of Warren will face Republican Nick Santucci of Howland.

In Mahoning County’s 59th district, Eric Ungaro of Poland Township and Greg Beight of New Springfield have filed as independent candidates, facing Democrat Lauren McNally.

Like Loychik, the Mahoning County Democratic Party also says it will closely review the validity of the independent candidates. In fact, the party has retained a law firm to do that analysis. Without their candidacy, McNally would have a clear path through November because no Republicans filed to run in the race.

In an email sent to Democrats, the party was critical of challenges by nonparty candidates, saying, “The party will not support individuals seeking to avoid primaries like this, and we want to make that message clear.”

But we believe opposition and challenges are critical in all elections, and we are hopeful all of the candidates are validated and certified, in order to ensure competition in November.

Likewise, we are pleased to see solid challenges in races for county commissioner in both Trumbull and Mahoning counties.

In Mahoning County, longtime incumbent Carol Rimedio-Righetti, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Geno DiFabio.

In Trumbull, longtime politician Democrat Michael O’Brien of Warren will face political newcomer Republican Denny Malloy of Bazetta, as well as Randy William Pence, a write-in candidate.

Also, in Trumbull County, Democrat Tod Latell will face Republican Martha Yoder for Trumbull County auditor, after incumbent Adrian Biviano announced his retirement.

We consistently argue that voters always should have a choice at the polls, whether it’s a primary race for a party nomination or a general election in November.

This is America, the nation with freedoms that are only dreamed of by many others around the world. The lack of interest that

often exists in our political system can be disheartening.

Great value comes in contested races. Debates over issues and beliefs force candidates to speak openly. It challenges candidates to answer the tough questions and often triggers discussion of new ideas. Simply put, competition leads to better government.



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