Mahoning County Democratic Party executive and central committee members today shied from endorsing Probate Court Judge Mark Belinky, who finished last in the field of candidates asking for the party's support for the bench seat in the May primary election.
A criminal investigation involving Belinky "hurt to some degree," he said after the meeting this morning, and played a role in him receiving just 20 percent of the support, but "I'm not sure that was the sole reason that I lost."
The timing of the investigation -- coming to light just a few days after he filed nominating petitions to seek reelection -- was "not good for me, personally or politically."
Led by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the investigation became publicly known on Feb.7, when law enforcement searched Belinky's home in Boardman and probate court chambers inside the Mahoning County Courthouse. Among the items taken were campaign finance reports, personal financial documents and computers.
Securing the endorsement in the three-way race was attorney Susan Maruca, who lost to Belinky in the 2008 primary election. She received 55 percent of the vote from executive and central committee members, and Christopher Sammarone, son of Youngstown City Council President Charles Sammarone, received 25 percent.
Read more about the Mahoning County nominations in the Sunday Tribune Chronicle.