McNally holds on

YOUNGSTOWN – Former Law Director and Mahoning County Commissioner John McNally emerged as the winner of Tuesday’s Democratic primary for mayor.

According to unofficial, incomplete results from the Mahoning County Board of Elections, McNally captured 50.41 percent of the vote over President of Council Jamael ”Tito” Brown with 48.12 percent. Brown was 3rd Ward councilman before becoming council president.

Matthew Smith collected 1.47 percent of the vote.

At his party at the Golden Dawn on Wick Avenue, McNally said getting out the vote was key.

”There was a lot of hard work by a lot of people,” McNally said. ”We knew this race would come down to the wire and it did.”

McNally said the difference between running a countywide race and a city race is that getting supporters is more crucial.

Brown did not return a message seeking comment. Smith has an unlisted number and could not be reached for comment.

McNally served two terms as county commissioner, choosing not to run for re-election to a third term last year so he could run for mayor.

He was linked to the Oakhill Renaissance Center corruption case and was charged by a grand jury, but the charges were dropped at the request of prosecutors.

In the general election, McNally will face former police Chief Jimmy Hughes, who ran for county sheriff last year and lost, Frank Bellamy, John Krea and Demaine Kitchen, former 2nd Ward councilman who has been chief of staff for Mayor Charles Sammarone since Sammarone took over the mayor’s office in 2011.

McNally said his strategy in November is the same as the primary: Turn out supporters at the polls.

”In the end, you have to get people out to vote,” McNally said.

Sammarone was president of council until September 2011, when he was elevated to the mayor’s position to take the place of Jay Williams, who left the city for a position in President Barack Obama’s administration.

Sammarone opted not to run for mayor and is instead running for his old seat as council president.

There are provisional and some mail-in ballots yet to be counted.