Trumbull County Democrats endorse incumbents

WARREN — The Trumbull County Democrats endorsed incumbents in all three contested primary races — two by landslides and one relatively close.

The party’s central and executive committees Tuesday endorsed county Commissioner Dan Polivka, who is also the party chairman, along with state Rep. Gil Blair in the Ohio House’s 63rd District race and county Engineer Randy Smith.

The engineer’s race was the most competitive with Smith beating former Engineer David DeChristofaro, 86-70.

“It doesn’t matter to me” that it was close, Smith said. “There was a lot of negative campaigning, and I didn’t have time to address it.”

Smith was referring to DeChristofaro paying for an ad in Sunday’s Tribune Chronicle and mailing a similar document to committee members criticizing the incumbent’s time in office.

“It’s desperation,” Smith said. “Everything I’ve done so far is positive and about my accomplishments. He had an opportunity, and he lost it.”

DeChristofaro was forced to leave the engineer’s position in 2011 on criminal convictions that have since been expunged. He was replaced by Smith.

DeChristofaro said he’s a “better leader” than Smith and did a better job when he was engineer.

As for not getting the endorsement, DeChristofaro said, “I appreciate all the committee members who voted for me. Endorsements are nice to have and I’m doing what I can to get endorsements, but the goal is to get elected. I’ll be working hard to get the votes of the people.”

Polivka received 146 votes to 15 for David M. Guarino, who used to work at the county sheriff’s office and now works for Ford Accessories of Pittsburgh, a Lordstown-based company.

Carl F. Clemens, a member of the county transit board who’s also running in the Democratic primary against Polivka, was unable to attend Tuesday’s endorsement meeting at Enzo’s Restaurant and Lounge because of an illness.

“We’re showing some signs of great progress in Trumbull County,” Polivka said. “We’re not without our challenges,” but we “can accomplish so much.”

In the endorsement for the 63rd District seat, Blair — appointed to the position in May after the resignation of Glenn Holmes — received 70 votes to 10 for Werner Lange, who’s unsuccessfully run for various elected positions. Niles Councilman-at-Large Barry Profato, who is also challenging Blair, didn’t seek the party’s endorsement.

“I’m happy to get the endorsement,” Blair said. “I’ve been involved in the party for a long time. I look forward to being elected.”

Lange said he’s running because “we need a Democrat to return to the revolutionary roots of the party. We need true-blue democrats, not purple DINOs” — Democrat in Name Only.

Meanwhile, there is no longer a Democratic primary for coroner.

Michael Jurenovich, an orthopaedic surgeon, withdrew Tuesday before the meeting. Board of elections officials said he cited health concerns as his reason for leaving the race.

That left Deputy Coroner Lawrence D’Amico as the only Democratic candidate for the seat. The party endorsed him, along with other uncontested Democrats in the March 17 election, by acclamation.


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