Mark Belinky has finally taken himself off the May 6 primary election ballot for Mahoning County Probate Court judge.
This was the right decision, but what took so long for him to do it?
Agents with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, or BCI, raided his Windsor Road home in Boardman and the judge's chambers inside the Mahoning County Courthouse on Feb. 7 looking for evidence in a corruption probe.
Five weeks later, he resigned as Probate Court judge, saying doing so was in his and his family's ''best interest.''
Between the two events, members of the Mahoning County Democratic Party distanced themselves - better yet, they ran as fast as they could - from Belinky. He was last among three Democratic candidates wanting the party endorsement, securing just 20 percent of the support.
It wasn't until Tuesday that Belinky finally got around to getting himself off the ballot.
Belinky said publicly last week that he forgot to take himself off the ballot, and that he thought the Mahoning County Board of Elections would do it for him automatically, which is something they cannot do.
Both are flimsy explanations for not taking himself out of the race, but raise a question.
If he forgot to withdraw, were there people, perhaps the investigators and attorneys leading the probe, telling him it would be best for him to get out?
The reason Belinky stayed in as long as he did couldn't be that he thought nothing would result from BCI's investigation and that he would skate on criminal charges and come through this clean, or at least clean enough, to regain the seat he gave up?
No, the cause of exit from the race was probably, from at least what's been said to me, because of a ''come to Jesus'' meeting sometime last week with investigators, who recommended Belinky withdraw or risk a public spectacle arrest when charges do come down.
This type of meeting has probably happened once already, I'm guessing in March before Belinky stepped down as judge.
Belinky has not yet been charged with a crime, but he remains under investigation, which the warrants used to search the court and Belinky's home indicate involves corruption. The items taken are evidence of tampering with records, bribery, money laundering, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and theft in office.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, whose office runs BCI, said in March during a visit to Boardman that he hoped to have a quick resolution to the case. The sooner, the better, so Mahoning County can close yet another chapter and cleanse itself again of another corruption investigation.